Case: Project Civic Access Settlement Agreement between United States Department of Justice and the City of Atlanta, Georgia

No Court

Filed Date: 2009

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Project Civic Access is an initiative of the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (DOJ), the purpose of which is to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life and have full access to government services and facilities, as required by Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and its implementing regulations.As part of Project Civic Access, DOJ attorneys and investigators carry o…

Project Civic Access is an initiative of the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (DOJ), the purpose of which is to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life and have full access to government services and facilities, as required by Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and its implementing regulations.

As part of Project Civic Access, DOJ attorneys and investigators carry out compliance reviews investigating cities and local governments to determine their degree of success in meeting their obligations under Title II of the ADA. After conducting these reviews, the DOJ negotiates out-of-court settlements requiring these local governments to come into compliance with their ADA obligations within a specified time. The DOJ is specifically authorized to conduct compliance investigations and to negotiate settlements with local governments under the ADA and the Department's implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35.

This out-of-court settlement between the City of Atlanta, GA and the US DOJ, entered in December 2009, was the 174th such agreement reached as a result of Project Civic Access. Prior to the settlement, the DOJ conducted an extensive compliance review, investigating all government facilities constructed or altered after January 26, 1992, the accessibility of services and programs offered at these and other government facilities, and the accessibility of the City's policies and procedures regarding voting, emergency management and disaster prevention, and sidewalk maintenance.

As summarized in the DOJ's press release, this settlement required the City of Atlanta to:

  • Make physical modifications to its facilities so that parking, entrances and routes into facilities, parking lots, public telephones, restrooms, service counters and drinking fountains are more accessible (the settlement included over 150 pages of attachments listing specific facility violations to be remedied) ;

  • Make specific modifications to improve access to city parks and tennis courts;

  • Officially recognize Georgia's telephone relay service and training staff to use the relay service to ensure effective communication for people who are deaf or hard of hearing;

  • Continue to ensure that 9-1-1 emergency service calls placed by persons with disabilities who use text telephones (TTYs) are answered as quickly as other calls, that such calls are monitored for timing and accuracy, and that employees are trained and practiced in using a TTY to make and receive calls;

  • Implement a plan to improve the accessibility of city sidewalks and provide for the installation of accessible curb ramps throughout Atlanta; (requiring, within three years of the date of the settlement, that curb cuts be added to all intersections of roads constructed or altered after January 26, 1992, including all roads resurfaced or repaved in this period.)

  • Ensure that the city's official website is accessible to persons with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or have low vision;

  • Ensure equal access to emergency management services for persons with disabilities;

  • Develop a method for providing information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the city's accessible services, activities and programs;

  • Install signs at inaccessible entrances to facilities directing persons with disabilities to accessible entrances;

  • Post, publish and distribute a notice to inform members of the public of the ADA's provisions and their applicability to the city's programs, services and activities;

  • Adopt a grievance procedure to deal with complaints of disability discrimination relating to city programs and services.

The Settlement also required the City to come into compliance with Title I of the ADA, requiring that it not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of disability, and that it make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified applicant or employee with a disability upon request unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship on the operation of the City's business.

The settlement agreement was to remain in place for three years, or until both the City and the DOJ agree that all actions required by the Agreement have been completed, whichever is later. It is not clear whether the agreement expired on December 8, 2012, some later date, or whether it is still in place. Violations of the agreement could result in the DOJ initiating enforcement litigation against the City of Atlanta.

The Clearinghouse includes a representative sample of other Project Civic Access settlements as well, see related cases below.

Summary Authors

Alex Colbert-Taylor (11/7/2014)

Related Cases

Project Civic Access Settlement Agreement between United States Department of Justice and the City of Toledo, OH, No Court (1999)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Milton, Naomi (District of Columbia)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Wodatch, John L. (District of Columbia)

Worden, Jeanine M (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Milton, Naomi (District of Columbia)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Wodatch, John L. (District of Columbia)

Worden, Jeanine M (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

DOJ Press Release: Justice Department Signs Agreement with City of Atlanta to Ensure Civic Access for Persons with Disabilities

Atlanta, Georgia Project Civic Access Settlement Agreement between the United States and the City of Atlanta, Georgia

Dec. 8, 2009

Dec. 8, 2009

Press Release

Settlement Agreement between the United States and the City of Atlanta, Georgia

Project Civic Access Settlement Agreement between the United States and the City of Atlanta, Georgia

Dec. 9, 2009

Dec. 9, 2009

Settlement Agreement

All Attachments for Settlement Agreement between the United States and the City of Atlanta (note no attachments E or H exist)

Project Civic Access Settlement Agreement between the United States and the City of Atlanta, Georgia

Dec. 9, 2009

Dec. 9, 2009

Settlement Agreement

Resources

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Georgia

Case Type(s):

Disability Rights

Key Dates

Filing Date: 2009

Case Ongoing: Perhaps, but long-dormant

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

This is a settlement that resulted from a US Department of Justice compliance review conducted to investigate the City of Atlanta's compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The settlement was negotiated between the DOJ and the City of Atlanta, GA without the filing of a lawsuit.

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

City of Atlanta, Georgia (Atlanta, Fulton), City

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701

Special Case Type(s):

Out-of-court

Availably Documents:

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Order Duration: 2009 - 2012

Content of Injunction:

Reasonable Accommodation

Reporting

Monitoring

Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)

Discrimination Prohibition

Auditing

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Barrier Removal

Bathrooms

Buildings

Courts

Failure to train

Funding

Government Services

Housing

Housing assistance

Parking

Phone

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Modifications

Sidewalks

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

TTY/Close Captioning/Videophone/etc.

Website

Discrimination-area:

Accommodation / Leave

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

disability, unspecified

Hearing impairment

Mental impairment

Mobility impairment

Visual impairment

Mental Disability:

Developmental disability without intellectual disability

Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified

Mental Illness, Unspecified

Type of Facility:

Government-run