Case: United States and Washington County Agreement

No Court

Filed Date: Dec. 14, 2004

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On December 14, 2004, the United States Department of Justice and Washington County, Utah, reached a settlement to resolve the Department’s ongoing compliance review of the County under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131–12134, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794. The Department’s review was designed to determine whether the County’s programs and services were accessible to persons with disabilities and whether the County provided p…

On December 14, 2004, the United States Department of Justice and Washington County, Utah, reached a settlement to resolve the Department’s ongoing compliance review of the County under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131–12134, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794. The Department’s review was designed to determine whether the County’s programs and services were accessible to persons with disabilities and whether the County provided persons with disabilities with proper notice of their rights to accessible services from the County. It was part of Project Civic Access, a program run by the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division that has brought over 200 municipalities into full compliance with Title II using settlement agreements. (See the related cases for more information.)

In the settlement, the County agreed to wide-ranging reforms to achieve ADA compliance:

Voting. The settlement contained detailed provisions designed to ensure that persons with disabilities could reach polling places. It identified deficiencies in existing polling places and described what steps the owners of the polling places had to take to fix the problems, from creating van-accessible parking to adding more signs identifying accessible parking. And the agreement required the County to find alternatives to polling places that failed to change within eighteen months.

The agreement also required changes inside the polling place. The County agreed to figure out a way for blind voters to vote privately within two years. It also agreed to install at least one accessible voting machine at each precinct each time it updates its voting machines and train poll workers to help people with disabilities at least once per year. Finally, the County agreed to offer voter registration materials in formats like Braille and large print within three months.

Physical Facilities. The County agreed to modify its buildings that failed to meet ADA requirements. The settlement provided a detailed list of required changes to individual facilities. See Attachment H (buildings built after 1992), Attachment I (buildings built before but altered after 1992), and Attachment J (services within buildings). Examples of required modifications include installing grab bars at toilets, increasing the width of access isles in accessible parking spaces, and adjusting the height of computer workstations.

Employment. The County agreed not to discriminate against persons with disabilities in hiring. Specifically, it agreed not to ask applicants about disabilities, make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities upon request, and not use an applicant’s disability as a pretext to deny them employment. The settlement provided that the County would implement these changes within three months.

Law Enforcement. The Sheriff’s Department agreed to change how it interacted with persons with disabilities. It agreed to hire full-time interpreters within three months and equip its jails and prisons with text telephones within nine months. The settlement also required the Sheriff’s Department to distribute notice of its responsibilities to the public and provide additional information to its officers about serving persons with disabilities within three months.

Emergency Management. The County agreed to provide the Department with extensive reports on its emergency management plans within three months. Specific topics included the extent to which the County solicits feedback on its emergency plans from persons with disabilities, addresses the needs of persons with disabilities when crafting evacuation plans, alerts persons with disabilities of threats in ways besides audible sirens, and protects service animals. The County also agreed to survey emergency shelters in its jurisdiction and demand changes from the owners of inaccessible shelters. Moreover, it agreed to find new shelters if existing shelters failed to remove barriers to accessibility within eighteen months.

Websites. The settlement provided that the County would make all of its websites and online content accessible. The County agreed to implement an accessibility policy for online content within three months and test its pages for ease of use at least once per year.

Administrative Reforms. The County appointed an ADA coordinator while the Department’s investigation was ongoing. The settlement provided that the ADA coordinator would investigate individual complaints about discrimination. It also required the County to provide sign language and oral interpreters as well as documents in alternate formats like Braille and large print. Finally, the County agreed to distribute a notice outlining its responsibilities under the ADA and the settlement within three months.

Implementation. The agreement lasted for four years and required the County to make annual reports to the Department. There is no evidence that there were problems implementing the settlement, so the matter is presumably closed.

Summary Authors

Timothy Leake (8/2/2019)

Related Cases

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


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)

Mendelsohn, James A. (Alabama)

Mobley, Mary Lou (Colorado)

Wodatch, John L. (District of Columbia)

Worden, Jeanine M (District of Columbia)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Jackson, Dana (District of Columbia)

Mallozzi, Michele Antonio (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)

Mendelsohn, James A. (Alabama)

Mobley, Mary Lou (Colorado)

Wodatch, John L. (District of Columbia)

Worden, Jeanine M (District of Columbia)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Jackson, Dana (District of Columbia)

Mallozzi, Michele Antonio (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Settlement Agreement Between the United States of America and Washington County, Utah Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

United States and Washington County, Utah

Dec. 14, 2004

Dec. 14, 2004

Settlement Agreement

Resources

Docket

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

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Utah

Case Type(s):

Disability Rights

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 14, 2004

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division

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

Washington County, Utah (Washington), County

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Law-enforcement

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: 2004 - 2008

Content of Injunction:

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Discrimination Prohibition

Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Monitor/Master

Monitoring

Reasonable Accommodation

Recordkeeping

Reporting

Required disclosure

Training

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Access to public accommodations - privately owned

Barrier Removal

Bathing and hygiene

Bathrooms

Buildings

Effective Communication (ADA)

Government Services

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Modifications

Record-keeping

Screen readers and similar accessibility devices

Sidewalks

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Transportation

TTY/Close Captioning/Videophone/etc.

Voting

Voting access

Website

Discrimination-area:

Accommodation / Leave

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

disability, unspecified

Hearing impairment

Mental impairment

Mobility impairment

Visual impairment

Mental Disability:

Mental Illness, Unspecified

Medical/Mental Health:

Intellectual/Developmental Disability

Intellectual disability/mental illness dual diagnosis

Type of Facility:

Government-run