Case: United States of America v. Humboldt County

1:16-cv-05139 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Filed Date: Sept. 7, 2016

Closed Date: March 13, 2020

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On September 7, 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The DOJ sued Humboldt County under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) alleging that Humboldt County discriminated against individuals with disabilities by failing to make County facilities, programs, services, and activities accessible. Previously in 2005, the DOJ reviewed Humboldt County’s with Title II of the ADA in 2005 and identified over 200 vio…

On September 7, 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The DOJ sued Humboldt County under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) alleging that Humboldt County discriminated against individuals with disabilities by failing to make County facilities, programs, services, and activities accessible. Previously in 2005, the DOJ reviewed Humboldt County’s with Title II of the ADA in 2005 and identified over 200 violations of ADA standards in newly constructed or altered facilities and over 900 barriers to access in County programs, services, and activities.

Following the review, the DOJ and the County entered a Project Civic Access agreement requiring the County to take specific actions to become compliant with the ADA. The DOJ alleged that Humboldt County failed to take the required actions and, in response, filed this lawsuit. The DOJ sought declaratory relief, an injunction preventing Humboldt County from failing to comply with the ADA and requiring employee training on the requirements of the ADA, and compensatory damages.

Immediately, the DOJ filed a proposed consent decree. On September 13, 2016, Judge Nandor J. Vadas approved and entered the consent decree. Under the consent decree, Humboldt County agreed to bring its facilities, programs, services, and activities into compliance with the ADA and make the county more accessible to individuals with disabilities within three and a half years. Humboldt County agreed to take a wide array of steps to reach compliance, including:

  • Provide curb ramps at all intersections
  • Implement effective communication training programs for all employees who communicate with the public
  • Make emergency shelters accessible to individuals with disabilities
  • Ensure that the County’s websites are compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA Success Criteria
  • Hire an ADA Coordinator approved by the United States to coordinate the County’s effort to comply with the consent decree and the ADA within 180 days
  • Hire an architect approved by the United States to certify alterations, additions, or modifications made by the County within 180 days
  • Hire a web accessibility consultant approved by the United States to maintain website accessibility
The county agreed to pay $275,000 in compensatory damages. The Court retained jurisdiction for the duration of the consent decree, three and a half years. The United States may apply for extension of the consent decree if the County fails to comply. As of January 27, 2021, there was no additional activity in the case and the United States had not applied for extension of the consent decree. Presumably, the consent decree ended and the case was closed.

Summary Authors

Emily Kempa (2/3/2021)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4558160/parties/united-states-v-humboldt-county/


Judge(s)

Vadas, Nandor J. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)

Bond, Rebecca B. (District of Columbia)

Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)

Hill, Eve L. (District of Columbia)

Kijewski, Kevin J. (District of Columbia)

Lutzker, Dov (District of Columbia)

Proctor, Melanie L. (California)

Stretch, Brian (District of Columbia)

Winslow, Sara (California)

Judge(s)

Vadas, Nandor J. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)

Bond, Rebecca B. (District of Columbia)

Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)

Hill, Eve L. (District of Columbia)

Kijewski, Kevin J. (District of Columbia)

Lutzker, Dov (District of Columbia)

Proctor, Melanie L. (California)

Stretch, Brian (District of Columbia)

Winslow, Sara (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Angus, Mary Blair (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Sept. 27, 2016 Docket

Settlement Agreement Between United States of America and Humboldt County Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, DJ 204-11-275

No Court

July 23, 2008 Settlement Agreement
1

Complaint

Sept. 7, 2016 Complaint
13

Consent Decree

Sept. 13, 2016 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Project Civic Access Settlement Agreement

Department of Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated a compliance review of Humboldt County, California under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The… July 23, 2008 https://www.ada.gov/humbolt_pca/humboldt.htm#settlemt

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4558160/united-states-v-humboldt-county/

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT against Humboldt County. Filed byUNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(Proctor, Melanie) (Filed on 9/7/2016) (Entered: 09/07/2016)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

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Sept. 7, 2016 PACER
2

Proposed Summons. (Proctor, Melanie) (Filed on 9/7/2016) (Entered: 09/07/2016)

Sept. 7, 2016 RECAP
3

Joint MOTION for Settlement Entry of Consent Decree filed by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Responses due by 9/21/2016. Replies due by 9/28/2016. (Attachments: # 1 Consent Decree, # 2 Attachment A, # 3 Attachment B, # 4 Attachment C, # 5 Attachment D, # 6 Attachment E, # 7 Attachment F, # 8 Attachment G, # 9 Attachment H, # 10 Attachment I, # 11 Attachment J, # 12 Attachment K)(Proctor, Melanie) (Filed on 9/7/2016) (Entered: 09/07/2016)

1 Consent Decree

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2 Attachment A

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3 Attachment B

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4 Attachment C

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5 Attachment D

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6 Attachment E

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7 Attachment F

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8 Attachment G

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9 Attachment H

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10 Attachment I

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11 Attachment J

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12 Attachment K

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Sept. 7, 2016 PACER
4

Case assigned to Magistrate Judge Nandor J. Vadas. Counsel for plaintiff or the removing party is responsible for serving the Complaint or Notice of Removal, Summons and the assigned judge's standing orders and all other new case documents upon the opposing parties. For information, visit E-Filing A New Civil Case at http://cand.uscourts.gov/ecf/caseopening.Standing orders can be downloaded from the court's web page at www.cand.uscourts.gov/judges. Upon receipt, the summons will be issued and returned electronically. Counsel is required to send chambers a copy of the initiating documents pursuant to L.R. 5-1(e)(7). A scheduling order will be sent by Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) within two business days. Consent/Declination due by 9/21/2016. (haS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/7/2016) (Entered: 09/07/2016)

Sept. 7, 2016 PACER
5

CONSENT/DECLINATION to Proceed Before a US Magistrate Judge by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.. (Proctor, Melanie) (Filed on 9/7/2016) (Entered: 09/07/2016)

Sept. 7, 2016 PACER
6

Initial Case Management Scheduling Order for Cases Asserting Denial of Right of Access under Americans with Disabilities Act. (msr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/7/2016) (Entered: 09/07/2016)

Sept. 7, 2016 PACER
7

Summons Issued as to Humboldt County. (msr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/7/2016) (Entered: 09/07/2016)

Sept. 7, 2016 PACER
8

NOTICE of Appearance by Dov Lutzker Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (Lutzker, Dov) (Filed on 9/7/2016) (Entered: 09/07/2016)

Sept. 7, 2016 PACER
9

Erroneous Entry--Please Ignore CLERK'S NOTICE Case Management Statement due by 11/29/2016. Initial Case Management Conference set for 12/6/2016 02:00 PM. Parties may appear by phone by dialing 888-684-8852/Access Code 1868782. (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (glm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/8/2016) Modified on 9/8/2016 (msr, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 09/08/2016)

Sept. 8, 2016 PACER
10

NOTICE of Appearance by Mary Blair Angus (Angus, Mary) (Filed on 9/8/2016) (Entered: 09/08/2016)

Sept. 8, 2016 PACER
11

CLERK'S NOTICE Status Conference set for 9/13/2016 02:00 PM before Magistrate Judge Nandor J. Vadas. Parties to appear by phone per previously provided instructions.. (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (glm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/8/2016) (Entered: 09/08/2016)

Sept. 8, 2016 PACER
12

ORDER by Judge Nandor J. Vadas granting 3 Motion for Entry of Consent Decree. (njvlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/13/2016) (Entered: 09/13/2016)

Sept. 13, 2016 PACER
13

CONSENT DECREE. Signed by Judge Nandor J. Vadas on 9/13/2016. (njvlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/13/2016) (Entered: 09/13/2016)

Sept. 13, 2016 RECAP
14

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Nandor J. Vadas: Status Conference held on 9/13/2016. Consent Decree will be signed by the court. Parties may contact the court at any time judicial intervention may be necessary. FTR Time 2:06-2:11. Plaintiff Attorney Dov Lutzker and Melanie Proctor. Defendant Attorney Blair Angus. This is a text only Minute Entry (glm, COURT STAFF) (Date Filed: 9/13/2016) (Entered: 09/14/2016)

Sept. 13, 2016 PACER
15

ORDER to administratively close case. Signed by Judge Nandor J. Vadas on 9/27/2016. (njvlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/27/2016) (Entered: 09/27/2016)

Sept. 27, 2016 PACER

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Disability Rights/Public Accommodations

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 7, 2016

Closing Date: March 13, 2020

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

U.S. Department of Justice.

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

Humboldt County (Humboldt County, Humboldt), County

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Availably Documents:

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: $275,000

Order Duration: 2016 - 2020

Content of Injunction:

Discrimination Prohibition

Hire

Reporting

Training

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Barrier Removal

Effective Communication (ADA)

Parking

Reasonable Accommodations

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

disability, unspecified

Type of Facility:

Government-run