USAO No. 2013V00101


  1. This Settlement Agreement (Agreement) is made and entered into between the United States of America (United States), and Conway Lodging, Inc. d/b/a Comfort Suites (Owner) and Umang Patel (Operator) (hereinafter Conway Lodging, Inc.). This Agreement resolves an investigation of the Comfort Suites located at 705 Museum Road, Conway, Arkansas, 72032, conducted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189 and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 36. The United States initiated this investigation after receiving a complaint alleging that Conway Lodging, Inc. discriminated against people with disabilities and denied equal access to its hotel for people with disabilities who use service animals. This Agreement pertains to the Conway Lodging, Inc.'s hotel services and operations.
  2. The United States Attorney General is authorized to, and did, investigate this complaint pursuant to the authority granted by Title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(l)(A) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.502. The Attorney General is authorized to enforce Title III of the ADA by seeking damages and full compliance with Title III's provisions. 28 C.F.R. § 36.504(a). The Attorney General may commence a civil action to enforce Title III in any situation where the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that a pattern or practice of discrimination exists or a matter of general public importance is raised. 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1)(B).
  3. Conway Lodging, Inc. and Umang Patel are both subject to the public accommodations requirements of Title III of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(A) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.104; and 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.201
  4. The Complainant alleges that Conway Lodging, Inc. failed to put in place, or modify its policies, to permit individuals using service animals to bring them into the hotel without having to provide documentation for the service animal, or otherwise being subject to the hotel's pet policy. Specifically, the Complainant, who is a person with a disability who uses a service animal, states that on September 27, 2012, he arrived at the Comfort Suites with his service animal. Complainant states the employee requested documentation of the service animal and Complainant was told he could not stay in the hotel without documentation for the service animal. Complainant then produced documentation of the service animal so that he could stay at the hotel.
  5. The United States investigated the Complaint and concluded that Conway Lodging, Inc. violated the ADA by failing to modify its policies, practices, or procedures to allow the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability without making inquiries pertaining to documentation, including proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. See 28 C.F.R. § 36.302(c). The parties have agreed to resolve this matter as set forth in this Agreement.

  7. The parties to this Agreement are the United States, Conway Lodging, Inc. d/b/a Comfort Suites (Owner) and Umang Patel (Operator).
  8. Pursuant to the ADA, Owner and Operator agree that persons with disabilities who are accompanied by their service animals at Conway Lodging, Inc. owned hotels or motels shall be afforded the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations equal to that afforded to other individuals as required by the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a). Owner and Operator further agree to modify the policies, practices and procedures at Conway Lodging, Inc. to permit the use of a service animal by individuals with disabilities without requiring verification of the person's need for the service animal or a surcharge. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii); 28 C.F.R. § 36.02(c).
  9. Upon the Effective Date of this Agreement, Owner and Operator shall adopt the service animal policy attached as Exhibit A to this Agreement or through a specification that the pet policy does not apply to service animals. Within 90 days Operator shall provide training for its employees on its service animal policy. Within 120 days of the Effective Date of this Agreement, Owner and Operator shall submit a report to the United States reporting on its compliance with this paragraph.
  10. In consideration of the above actions, the United States agrees to close the investigation of the complaint and to refrain from bringing civil action for violations of the ADA resulting from Complainant's  stay specified herein, except as provided in paragraphs 12 and 13 of this Agreement.
  12. The United States may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the United States believes that Owner or Operator are not in compliance with this Agreement or any requirement contained herein, the United States agrees to notify them in writing of the alleged non-compliance. Owner and Operator shall have 30 days to respond to the United States regarding the alleged non-compliance, and the Parties will attempt in good faith to resolve the matter informally. If the Parties are unable to reach a resolution, the United States may seek appropriate relief from the United States District Court. If the Court determines that Owner or Operator have violated terms of this Agreement or the ADA, they shall be subject to all available remedies under the ADA.
  13. Any failure of the Department of Justice to enforce this Agreement with respect to any deadline or any other provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of the United States right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement, and invalidation of any particular provision or portion of a provision shall not affect the validity of this Agreement, which shall continue to have full force and effect.
  14. Owner, Operator, and/or the United States shall provide a copy of this Agreement to any person or entity upon request.
  15. The Effective Date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below. The Agreement shall remain in effect until three years after the Effective Date.
  16. This Agreement shall be binding on Owner for as long as it owns the Conway Lodging, Inc. and on Operator for as long as it operates Conway Lodging, Inc. In the event that the Owner seeks to transfer or assign all or part of its interest in Conway Lodging, Inc., and the successor or assign intends to carry on the same or similar use of the facility, as a condition of sale the Owner shall obtain the written agreement of the successor or assign to any obligations remaining under this Agreement for the remaining term of the Agreement.
  17. This Agreement constitutes the entire Agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, 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 written Agreement, shall be enforceable regarding the matters raised herein. This Agreement does not affect the Owner or Operator's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of Title III of the ADA.
  18. The person(s) signing this Agreement on behalf of Owner and Operator represent that they are authorized to bind the Owner and Operator to this Agreement.
  19. This Agreement shall terminate after three years from the Effective Date.


By:  /s/ Umang Patel
Umang Patel
Comfort Suites, 705 Museum Road, Conway, Arkansas, 72032

Dated: January 7th, 2014.    


By:  /s/ Shannon S. Smith
Shannon S. Smith
Assistant United States Attorney, Eastern District of Arkansas
425 West Capitol, Suite 500, Little Rock, AR  72201

Dated: January 17th, 2014.