VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE AGREEMENT
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
WHEREAS, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189, provides, among other things, that “[n]o individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation,” 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a); 28 C.F.R. § 36.201(a);
WHEREAS, the term “public accommodation” under the ADA includes a “service establishment,” 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(F);
WHEREAS, the ADA authorizes the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, acting on behalf of the United States of America (the “United States”), to investigate alleged violations of Title III, and to undertake reviews of compliance of covered entities pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1)(A)(i);
WHEREAS, the United States received a complaint alleging that Vinarc LLC (“Vinarc”) recently completed renovations at the office building housing the ARC of Northern Virginia, located at 2755 Hartland Road, Suite 200, Falls Church, VA 22043 (“2755 Hartland Road”), including the replacement of doors and that the new doors contain architectural barriers to access by individuals with disabilities. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the new doors include lock hardware that is not compliant with the ADA regulations because the operable lock hardware is too close to the finished floor. 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (“2010 Standards”), at § 404.2.7. Further, the side door to the ARC of Northern Virginia’s office suite has a vertical joint that exceeds the ADA’s requirement for door surfaces. See 2010 Standards § 404.2.10, and 404.2.10 Exception 2.
WHEREAS, pursuant to its authority under 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1)(A)(i), the United States has requested information from Vinarc in connection with its investigation of this complaint;
WHEREAS, the United States conducted a limited review under the ADA of certain features of 2755 Hartland Road;
WHEREAS, the United States and Vinarc share the goal of ensuring that Vinarc operates in compliance with Title III of the ADA and its implementing regulations, 28 C.F.R. part 36; and
WHEREAS, in light of the actions taken by Vinarc to date to comply with the ADA, and the actions that Vinarc has agreed to take as set forth in this Agreement (the “Agreement”), the United States has decided to take no further enforcement action at this time with respect to Vinarc;
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY AGREED, BY AND BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND VINARC, AS FOLLOWS:
APPLICATION AND PARTIES BOUND
- 2755 Hartland Road is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7) because, among other things, it houses offices of a service provider. 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(F); 28 C.F.R. § 36.104. Vinarc, as an owner and operator of a place of public accommodation, is a public accommodation within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7).
- In 2015, Vinarc made a major alteration to the building, including the installation of doors that have lock hardware that is not compliant with the 2010 Standards, at §§ 404.2.7, 404.2.10, and 404.2.10 Exception 2.
- This Agreement shall be binding on Vinarc, and each of their agents and employees. In the event that Vinarc seeks to transfer or assign all or part of their interest in the 2755 Hartland Road, and the successor or assign intends on carrying on the same or similar use of the facility, as a condition of sale Vinarc shall obtain the written accession of the successor or assign to any obligations remaining under this Agreement for the remaining term of this Agreement.
- For purposes of this Agreement, the term “2010 Standards” means the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, see 28 C.F.R. § 36.104 (defining the 2010 ADA Standards as the requirements set forth in appendices B and D to 36 C.F.R. Part 1191 and the requirements contained in 28 C.F.R., part 36, subpart D).
- For purposes of this Agreement, the term “accessible” means in compliance with the 2010 Standards.
- For purposes of this Agreement, the term “1991 Standards” means the 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, 28 C.F.R. Part 36, App. D (2011).
- For purposes of this Agreement, the term “alterations” means a change to the 2755 Hartland Road that affects or could affect the usability of the building or facility or any part thereof and includes, but is not limited to, remodeling, renovation, rehabilitation, historic restoration, changes or rearrangement in structural parts or elements, and changes or rearrangement in the plan configuration of walls and full height partitions. Normal maintenance, re-roofing, painting or wallpapering, asbestos removal, or changes to mechanical or electrical systems are not alterations unless they affect the usability of the building or facility. See 28 C.F.R. § 36.402(b)(1).
- Vinarc acknowledges and agrees that any alteration to 2755 Hartland Road shall comply with the 2010 Standards to the maximum extent feasible. Vinarc agrees to notify the United States, in writing, of any alterations to 2755 Hartland Road commenced during the term of this Agreement and shall, in that notification, specify the steps taken to ensure that the alterations comply with the Standards to the maximum extent feasible.
MONITORING AND COMPLIANCE
- Within 7 calendar days of the effective date of this agreement, Vinarc shall provide the United States Attorney’s Office, for its review and approval, its plans to remediate the ADA non-compliance issues for the office suite occupied by the ARC of Northern Virginia. Specifically, Vinarc will replace both the front and the side doors to the ARC of Northern Virginia’s office suite with a standard solid entry door (as opposed to the current frameless door) where the lock, including its height, is ADA compliant. The front door to the ARC of Northern Virginia will retain its push button operation capability.
- Within 14 calendar days of receiving the USAO’s approval of its plans, Vinarc will complete the ADA remedial work discussed in paragraph.
- Within 5 calendar days of completing the remedial steps discussed in paragraph 9, Vinarc will provide the United States Attorney’s Office with photographs of the remedial work.
- Vinarc shall cooperate in good faith with any and all reasonable requests by the United States for access to 2755 Hartland Road and for information and documents concerning Vinarc’s compliance with this Agreement and the ADA.
- The United States shall have the right to verify compliance with this Agreement and the ADA, both as set forth in this Agreement and through any means available to the general public, including visits to the public areas of 2755 Hartland Road. The United States shall have the right to inspect 2755 Hartland Road at any time.
- If the United States believes that this Agreement or any of its requirements has been violated, it will notify Vinarc in writing and attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith. If the United States and Vinarc are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues, the United States may commence a civil action in the United States District Court to enforce the terms of this Agreement and/or the ADA.
- In consideration for Vinarc’s timely performance of all of its obligations under this Agreement, the United States agrees to discontinue its investigation of Vinarc, except as provided in the Enforcement portion of this Agreement. The United States reserves the right to investigate any complaint it receives concerning Vinarc, to initiate future compliance reviews concerning 2755 Hartland Road with respect to any aspect of 2755 Hartland Road or its operation not expressly addressed in this Agreement, and to investigate and commence a civil action with respect to any violation of the ADA. In the event the United States receives and investigates an ADA complaint concerning 2755 Hartland Road, or commences any future compliance review concerning 2755 Hartland Road, nothing in this Agreement shall limit the scope of any investigation or compliance review of 2755 Hartland Road or preclude the United States from seeking relief beyond that required under this Agreement.
- A copy of this Agreement shall be made available to any person upon request.
- The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature on the Agreement. The term of this Agreement is three years from the effective date.
- This Agreement memorializes the commitments made by Vinarc to increase accessibility of 2755 Hartland Road and the terms under which the United States has agreed to conclude this particular investigation of 2755 Hartland Road without further review or enforcement action. This Agreement is not intended to certify or signify, however, that 2755 Hartland Road is now (or, with the actions taken pursuant to this Agreement, will be) in full compliance with the ADA, or constitute a finding by the United States of such compliance, and it may not be used in any proceeding to signify such compliance. This Agreement does not affect Vinarc’s continuing responsibility and obligation to comply with all aspects of the ADA. This Agreement is not intended to reflect any legal interpretation of any provisions of the ADA by the United States, and it may not be used in any proceeding to demonstrate such legal interpretations.
- The individuals signing this Agreement represent that they are authorized to bind the parties to this Agreement.
- Failure by the United States to enforce the entire Agreement with regard to any deadline or any other provision of the Agreement, shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other deadlines or provisions of the Agreement.
- This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties relating to the complaint, 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 Agreement, shall be enforceable.
- This Agreement may not be amended except by written consent of the Parties.
- This Agreement may be executed in counterparts, each of which constitutes an original and all of which constitute one and the same Agreement. Electronically transmitted signatures shall constitute acceptable, binding signatures for purposes of this Agreement.