Tag: DOJ

Cannon County, Tennessee Resolves ADA Complaint Over Sports Facility

Seal of the United States Department of Justice NASHVILLE – Cannon County, Tennessee has resolved a complaint that it was constructing a school sports facility that did not comply with the accessibility standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), announced Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee.

“We appreciate the willingness of the County and Cannon County Schools Director William Curtis to resolve these issues so that all individuals with disabilities – students and spectators – can utilize a sports facility that complies with the ADA for years to come,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stewart. “This successful resolution was achieved because of concerned citizens, who are the eyes and ears of their communities and help this Office ensure that there is equal access in all areas of the Middle District.”

On April 23, 2019, the United States notified Cannon County that it was investigating a complaint that the sports facility was not being constructed in accordance with ADA standards, and specifically did not comply with parking, signage, and accessibility requirements. The United States sought information on the status of the construction, including photographs and architectural plans to demonstrate ADA compliance. Cannon County promptly responded to the requests.

Continue reading at: https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdtn/pr/cannon-county-tennessee-resolves-ada-complaint-over-sports-facility

$2.25 Million Fund in Amtrak Settlement Closes May 29 2021

To resolve the Department of Justice’s claims that Amtrak violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Amtrak created a $2.25 million fund to pay riders with mobility disabilities who had problems accessing the Amtrak stations listed below.

Individuals must make a claim by May 29, 2021, available at www.AmtrakDisabilitySettlement.com, to get paid from the fund.

For help, contact:

  • Email: info@AmtrakDisabilitySettlement.com
  • Telephone (toll-free): 1-888-334-6165
  • TTY Telephone (toll-free): 1-866-411-6976

Individuals must also:

  • Have a mobility disability. For example, use a wheelchair, walker, or other device to assist with walking or moving around, or otherwise have difficulty walking;
  • Have had a problem accessing one of the Amtrak stations listed below between July 27, 2013, and Dec. 2, 2020. Problems include the lack of accessible parking; steep sidewalks or paths or steps on sidewalks or paths; no signs saying where individuals using wheelchairs may go to get to the station; bathrooms with doors or stalls that are too narrow or with inaccessible sinks; high ticket counters; platforms that are falling apart; or narrow routes at stations; and
  • Have lived at, visited, or wanted to visit a place closer to one or more of the 78 listed Amtrak stations than another Amtrak station.

To receive payment, an individual with a disability must have had problems accessing one of 78 stations. The list of stations is available at www.AmtrakDisabilitySettlement.com.

This fund is part of the Justice Department’s agreement with Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, to resolve the department’s findings of disability discrimination in violation of the ADA. Under the agreement Amtrak will also fix inaccessible stations.

For more information on the ADA, please visit ADA.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TTY 800-514-0383).

DOJ Joins ADA Lawsuit Over Chicago’s Non-Compliant Crosswalks

City of Chicago crosswalk is not ADA compliant.

The Justice Department has joined a lawsuit against the City of Chicago that alleges the City has not made the majority of its crosswalks accessible to people who are blind, deaf-blind, or have low vision.

The DOJ states the City is required to install accessible pedestrian signals that give audio or tactile cues when it’s safe to cross the street in order to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. According to the DOJ, the City of Chicago has just 15 of those signals out of 2,700 crosswalks with visual signals.

Continue reading this story at https://news.wttw.com/2021/04/13/justice-department-joins-lawsuit-over-accessibility-chicago-crosswalks.

This story was originally written and produced by Nick Blumberg and WTTW Public Broadcasting.

El Paso County Releases Draft ADA Transition Plan

El Paso County Judicial Complex

Across the nation, federal investigators are continuing their audits of municipalities for ADA violations. From curb ramps and sidewalks to facilities and services, many cities and counties are taking the necessary steps to identify their barriers and update their transition plans.

El Paso County, Colorado, recently completed an ambitious effort with a draft transition plan to set the foundation of their ADA compliance initiative.  “El Paso County is committed to full and equal opportunity for all its citizens, including individuals with disabilities,” said Vince Maciunskas, Infrastructure Project Manager. “The County recognizes that its community’s continued vitality, strength and vibrancy results from the valuable contributions from the entire community.”

El Paso County’s work is critically important to creating an accessible and equitable community for all. For those that haven’t made it a priority, the DOJ is imposing fines of several million dollars and has frozen federal funding from other agencies.

Source: El PAso County Public Notice, October 24, 2019

https://www.elpasoco.com/seeking-public-comment-ada-transition-plan/

New York City Settlement requires survey of 162,000 sidewalk curbs

vehicles traveling on road near buildings during daytime in New York City

Photo by Toni Osmundson on Unsplash

Accessible public right-of-ways are good for everyone. Gentle slopes, well defined landings and wide smooth pathways are all convenient for the able user. However, for some, they are more than convenient, they provide a path to independence that would otherwise be unattainable.  

In New York City, municipal administrators are starting important work to identify inaccessible sidewalks and curbs, and integrate them into a remediation plan. This work follows the resolution to two lawsuits. “U.S. District Court Judge George B. Daniels gave the final approval of a class action settlement resolving two separate lawsuits—the first filed by the United Spinal Association and the second by the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY)—and establishing a plan that will require citywide surveys of all ramps and identify which corners need curb cuts installed or upgraded.”

ADA compliance issues and lawsuits are becoming more common by the day. Municipalities have a choice to be proactive and move toward compliance and inclusiveness, or become the targets of lawsuits and DOJ investigations.

Source:
City to make more sidewalk curbs accessible
Lizeth Beltran, Crain’s New York Business  
July 23, 2019

https://www.crainsnewyork.com/transportation/city-make-more-sidewalk-curbs-accessible

 

DOJ Continues Crack Downs on Municipalities Not in Compliance with the ADA

Humboldt County Courthouse

While the Americans with Disabilities Act has been law for more than 28 years, the U.S. Department of Justice has let many infractions slide by because they saw local municipalities were making slow progress to get into compliance with the law. That was until the late 2000’s when the DOJ decided local municipalities had enough time to make the needed investments to get into compliance with the law. Now, the DOJ is going after municipalities with some heavy lawsuits.

Humboldt County is spending $27 million over the next seven years to ensure its facilities, programs and services are in compliance with the ADA because of a 2008 DOJ investigation and settlement agreement.  A move that is putting the county in financial hardship, but work that its leadership is committed to.

These cases are not rare. In January we did a spotlight on suburban cities complying with the ADA in fear of losing federal funding as a result of DOJ investigations. In our discussions with the DOJ, investigators and prosecutors want to see that local municipalities are doing their due diligence to remediate their access barriers and have an up-to-date transition plan in place. While it does take a lot of coordinated work and investment, being compliant with the ADA is helping save many municipalities from the scrutiny of the DOJ and the public.

Source:
Humboldt County projected to spend $7 million ahead of Disabilities Act deadline
Shomik Mukherjee, Times-Standard
February 28, 2019
https://www.times-standard.com/2019/02/28/humboldt-county-projected-to-spend-7-million-ahead-of-disabilities-act-deadline/

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