1. This Settlement Agreement (Agreement) is made and entered into by the United States of America (United States) and the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) referred to hereinafter as the "Parties".
2. This Agreement resolves an investigation of the MSA and the Baltimore Ravens Limited Partnership (Ravens), conducted by the United States Department of Justice under titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§12131-12189 (ADA), concerning accessible parking spaces that serve spectators attending Baltimore Ravens football games at PSINet Stadium (Stadium) located in Baltimore, Maryland.
3. The Parties agree as follows:
THE TERM OF THE AGREEMENT
4. This Agreement shall remain in effect for a period of three years from the date it becomes effective.
5. The term "Respondent" refers to the MSA.
6. The term "Department" refers to the U.S. Department of Justice and, because the Department is the designated enforcement authority for the ADA under titles II and III of the ADA, "Department" is used interchangeably with "United States."
7. The term "parking" or "parking area" refers to the area that is owned and operated by the MSA adjoining the Stadium and used for automobile parking during Ravens football games.
8. The MSA is the current owner of the Stadium. MSA was created on July 1, 1986, by the Maryland General Assembly, as a section of the executive branch of the Maryland State government. MSA is a department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or local government and is, therefore, a public entity within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1)(B) and 28 C.F.R. § 35.104, and is subject to title II of the ADA.
9. PSINet Stadium includes the Stadium and the parking area owned by MSA and serving the Stadium.
10. The Stadium is a building, structure, site, or complex, owned and operated by the MSA, and is, therefore, a "facility" within the meaning of 28 C.F.R. § 35.104, and is covered by title II.
11. Construction of the Stadium began after January 26, 1992, and the Stadium is, therefore, a newly constructed facility within the meaning of title II of the ADA. 28 C.F.R. § 35.151(a).
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE INVESTIGATION
12. This matter was initiated by a complaint filed with the Department by a person with a disability who attends Ravens football games. The complaint alleges that the Ravens discriminate against people with disabilities in violation of the ADA because they fail to provide persons who need accessible parking with an equal opportunity to reserve parking spaces in advance. The Disability Rights Section undertook an investigation under the authority granted by Sections 203 and 308(b) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12133 and 12188(b).
13. The United States asserts that, from June 2000 through the present, the Department conducted an in-depth investigation (the Department's File No. DJ 204-35-207 and 202-35-135) of the parking area, as well as the policies, practices and procedures used in operating the parking area for Ravens football games. The Department enters into this Agreement on the basis of the results of that investigation.
14. The United States asserts that Respondent has violated the new construction provisions of title II of the ADA by designing and constructing, or by contracting with others to design and construct, the Stadium parking area so that it is not readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Specifically, the United States asserts that Respondent failed to comply with the Department's regulation implementing title II of the ADA, including the Standards for Accessible Design (Standards) incorporated into the regulations and found at Appendix A to 28 C.F.R. Part 36.
15. The United States asserts that the Ravens' reserved parking areas deny persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from the advantage of reserved parking provided to Club Seat members who do not require accessible parking in violation of title II of the ADA. 28 C.F.R. § 35.149.
16. Respondent does not admit the truth of any of the alleged facts, characterizations of its alleged conduct, or conclusions asserted by the Department, as set out in this Agreement. Respondent denies that it has violated the ADA and nothing in this Agreement should be taken as an admission, explicit or implicit, that such violation has taken place. Respondent enters into this Agreement without prejudice to their rights to assert in any subsequent action or proceeding that any conditions identical or similar to those alleged by the Department do not violate the ADA or otherwise impose liability upon Respondent.
17. Within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement, Respondent will:
a. Ensure that accessible entrances that are closest to accessible parking remain open and usable by individuals with disabilities during events held at the Stadium in accordance with § 4.14.1 of the Standards; and
b. Train all employees who operate the parking area in the requirements of this Agreement.
18. Respondent has modified the spectator parking area to provide accessible parking spaces in accordance with § 4.1.2(5) of the Standards. The parking spaces are located as set forth in Exhibit A.
19. In order to comply with the requirements of § 4.1.2(5) of the Standards, Respondent has:
a. Re-striped accessible parking spaces so that each accessible space is at least 96 inches wide in accordance with § 4.6.3 of the Standards;
b. Re-striped accessible parking spaces, excluding van accessible spaces, so that each has an obvious and contiguous access aisle at least 60 inches wide in accordance with §§ 4.3 and 4.6.3 of the Standards;
c. Re-striped the accessible parking spaces so that one out of every eight is a van-accessible space, meaning that it is 96 inches wide and has an obvious and contiguous access aisle that is 96 inches wide in accordance with §§ 4.1.2(5) and A4.6.3 of the Standards;
d. Installed signage so that each accessible parking space is identified by a sign that displays the international symbol of accessibility mounted so that it cannot be obscured by a vehicle parked in that identified space. Signage indicating the location of van-accessible parking spaces shall contain the words "van accessible" below the symbol of accessibility in accordance with §§ 4.6.4 and 4.30.7(a) of the Standards;
e. Where necessary, modified the access aisles so that accessible parking spaces are joined to an accessible route in accordance with § 4.6.2 of the Standards; and
f. Trained its employees so that they are aware of the location of the accessible or van-accessible parking spaces.
20. Respondent agrees to maintain the accessible routes connecting accessible parking spaces to accessible entrances. In order to maintain the accessible routes, Respondent will:
a. Perform a weekly inspection of all access aisles and accessible routes between each accessible parking space and the accessible entrances for potholes, debris, or other obstacles that may be a potential barrier to accessibility during the football season. The first weekly inspection will take place no later than two weeks before the first preseason game to be held in the Stadium each season. These weekly inspections shall be held until the football season ends, meaning that either the Ravens have been eliminated from the playoffs or the playoffs have been completed, and either the Super Bowl will not be held in the Stadium or the Super Bowl has been completed;
b. In addition to the weekly football season inspections, perform an inspection one week before each non-football event held in the Stadium;
c. Maintain a log of every inspection it performs;
d. Remove or repair any potential barrier to accessibility expeditiously upon discovery, whether discovered during an inspection or in any manner or time;
e. Maintain the accessible parking spaces and access aisles and the accessible routes from the access aisles to the accessible entrances so that they are reasonably free of snow, ice, excess water, or any other obstacle made by natural occurrences, and the ground surface along the accessible route so that it is firm, stable and slip resistant when the parking area is in use for Ravens games and other events held in the Stadium.
21. Respondent agrees not to reduce the total number of accessible and van-accessible parking spaces provided under the terms of this Agreement.
IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF THIS AGREEMENT
22. In consideration for the actions undertaken by Respondent under the terms of this Agreement, the United States agrees to refrain from filing suit or conducting further investigation of this matter except as provided in this Agreement or to enforce the terms of this Agreement.
23. The Department may monitor and review compliance with this Agreement at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice.
24. If the Department believes this Agreement or any provision of it has been violated, the Department shall promptly notify Respondent in writing of the nature of the alleged violation(s), and, within ten days of receipt by Respondent of said written notice from the Department, Respondent shall either satisfy the Department that no violation has taken place, or initiate and diligently pursue a cure of any such violation, to the Department's reasonable satisfaction. In each instance where the Department makes a reasonable determination that a violation of the Agreement has taken place and that a cure has not been initiated and diligently pursued within the ten-day period specified, or where the Respondent fails to adequately respond to the Department's written notice, the Department may exercise its rights under the Agreement or the ADA to enforce the provisions of the Agreement or of title II of the ADA.
25. In the event that Respondent plans to modify the Stadium parking area so that it materially reduces or interferes with the accessibility of accessible parking spaces or access aisles, or the accessible routes from the access aisles to accessible entrances, Respondent shall notify the Department of the planned modifications. Such notice shall include a description of the planned or completed modifications, the estimated impact of those modifications, and a brief description of the reason(s) for each modification. Respondent shall make every reasonable effort to notify the Department of the planned changes in their earliest stages of development. Changes covered by this paragraph are those that have occurred since the Department's site investigation of September 3, 2000, or that have been made pursuant to this Agreement. If the Department determines that such a change would amount to a breach of this Agreement, said change will be subject to paragraph 24 of this Agreement.
26. The Department recognizes that Respondent has previously allowed flexibility in its parking policies, locations and procedures, to provide additional, temporary parking zones for patrons requiring accessible parking. In the event Respondent makes such temporary modifications, those modifications will not be deemed by the Department to violate this Agreement, so long as all other provisions of this Agreement have been met, and also, provided the temporary modification: a) continues to comply with all relevant provisions of the ADA and its implementing regulations, consistent with the interpretations thereof underlying the terms of this Agreement, and its exhibit; and b) results in the provision of equal or greater accessibility to people with disabilities.
27. Failure by the United States to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision of it with regard to any deadline or any other provision contained herein shall not be construed as a waiver by the United States of any right to do so.
28. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained herein may be made available to any person. Respondent, at its option, shall either provide a copy of this Agreement upon request or refer any person who inquires about obtaining a copy of this Agreement to the Department at the address and telephone number indicated following the Department's signature lines within this document.
29. This Agreement shall be binding on Respondent and its successors in interest. Respondent has a duty to notify all such successors in interest of these obligations, and include notice of this Agreement and its terms in all future Agreements pertaining to the transfer of any right or interest in the Stadium's parking area or in the operation thereof.
30. This Agreement shall be binding on all persons or entities with whom Respondent contracts to provide parking or parking services for football games at the Stadium. Respondent has a duty to notify such contractors of these obligations and include notice of this Agreement and its terms in all future contracts pertaining to providing parking or parking services for football games at the Stadium.
31. If any provision of this Agreement is affected by any future proceeding in bankruptcy, the Parties shall jointly apply to the Bankruptcy Court for withdrawal to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland for resolution of the matter.
32. This Agreement, including the exhibit attached hereto, constitutes the entire agreement between the Parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, shall be enforceable. In the event a court of competent jurisdiction concludes that any part of this Agreement is unenforceable, such portion shall be severed from this Agreement and all other portions shall remain enforceable.
33. This Agreement applies to operation of the parking area when used for events held at the Stadium, with the exception of the maintenance provisions set forth in paragraph 20, which are effective as stated herein. It does not apply to any other use of the parking area owned, leased or operated by Respondent. This Agreement does not affect any continuing responsibility of Respondent to comply with the ADA, where applicable, concerning: (a) any duties of Respondents with regard to any other venues being designed, planned, modified or operated for use by the Ravens; (b) any responsibilities Respondent may incur toward employees under titles I and II of the ADA; (c) any other elements within the Stadium; and (d) sale or provision of tickets for events held in the Stadium.
34. The Parties hereby represent and acknowledge that this Agreement is given and executed voluntarily and is not based upon any representation by either Party to the other Party as to the merits, legal liability, or value of any claims of the Parties or any matters related thereto.
35. The Parties acknowledge that they have been afforded an opportunity to consider this Agreement and the terms and conditions set forth herein, and that they have read and understood the terms of this Agreement and have been given an opportunity to consult with their respective counsel prior to executing this Agreement.
36. A signer of this document, in a representative capacity for the MSA or the Department, represents that he or she is authorized to bind such entity to this Agreement.
37. In any instance where notice is required to be given to either of the Parties to this Agreement, such notice shall be provided in writing, sent via certified or registered U.S. Mail, return receipt requested, to the following individuals in their capacity as representatives of the Parties to this Agreement:
The Maryland Stadium Authority:
Edward E. Cline
Deputy Director Maryland Stadium Authority
The Warehouse at Camden Yards
333 West Camden Street, Suite 500
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
John L. Wodatch, Section Chief
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
38. This Agreement may be executed in several counterparts, each of which shall be an original and shall constitute one and the same instrument. The exhibit hereto is hereby incorporated by specific reference into this Agreement, and its terms are made a part of this Agreement as though fully recited herein.
39. The date this Agreement becomes effective is the date of the last signature below.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
THE MARYLAND STADIUM
RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
JOHN L. WODATCH
SUSAN BUCKINGHAM REILLY
SUSAN G. QUINN
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, DC 20035-6738
RICHARD W. SLOSSEN
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December 20, 2001