USAO # 2017V00161
DJ # 202-66-37

  1. The parties to this Settlement Agreement (Agreement) are the United States of America (United States) and Family Dollar Stores of Rhode Island, LLC (Family Dollar).
  2. Family Dollar is a retail store chain with 29 stores located in the state of Rhode Island.
  3. The United States Department of Justice (Department), through the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island, opened an investigation of Family Dollar pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which authorizes the Department to investigate alleged violations of Title III. 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1)(A)(i). The investigation was initiated upon receipt of complaints in the District of Rhode Island alleging that a Family Dollar store did not comply with Title III and its implementing regulations. Specifically, the complaints alleged that designated accessible features of the Family Dollar Store facility were not being sufficiently maintained to ensure access for persons with disabilities, including maintaining access to designated accessible parking spaces and the front entrance, and keeping store aisles free of clutter, so as not to reduce accessible routes to and within store facilities. The complaints alleged that, as a result of these failures, persons with disabilities who use mobility aids, such as wheelchairs and walkers, are subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability. The Department’s investigation found that these allegations were factually supported, and that the same or similar conditions existed in other stores owned and operated by Family Dollar in the District of Rhode Island.
  4. The Attorney General is responsible for administering and enforcing title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189, and the regulation implementing title III, 28 C.F.R. Part 36.
  5. Family Dollar retail stores are places of public accommodation subject to the requirements of title III of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(E); 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.
  6.  Under title III of the ADA, no person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation may discriminate against an individual on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a); 28 C.F.R. § 36.201.
  7. Discrimination includes a public accommodation’s failure to operate and maintain features in operable working condition within its facilities so that the features are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. 28 C.F.R. § 36.211.
  8. Family Dollar has cooperated fully with the Department’s investigation and has agreed to address issues with respect to maintenance of accessible features that are identified in this Agreement.
  9. For purposes of this Agreement, the term “2010 Standards” means the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design which consist of the 2004 ADA Accessibility Guidelines (“ADAAG”), appendices B and D to 36 C.F.R. Part 1191, and the requirements contained in subpart D of 28 C.F.R. Part 36, 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.


  1. Pursuant to 28 C.F.R. § 36.211, Family Dollar shall ensure that its employees will not place merchandise, shopping carts, boxes, and/or any other items in areas of its facilities, including both inside and outside of its stores, where such placement reduces or eliminates accessibility of, among other issues:
    1. Parking in designated accessible parking spaces and access aisles;
    2. Access to the entrance of the stores; and
    3. Accessible routes within the store.
  2. Family Dollar shall provide accessible parking spaces at each retail store in Rhode Island. Accessible parking spaces and adjacent access aisles shall be marked so as to discourage parking in them (by individuals who do not require accessible parking), and all spaces shall be identified with signs including the International Symbol of Accessibility. See 2010 Standards §§ 208.2, 502.2, 502.3.3, 502.6, 703.7.2.1.
    1. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, Family Dollar shall undertake a survey of each Family Dollar store currently in Rhode Island as of the date of the Agreement to assess each store’s level of compliance with the 2010 Standards with respect to accessible parking spaces. Family Dollar will provide these surveys to the United States together with the proposed remediation plan to have all violations remedied no later than six months from the effective date of this Agreement.
  3. Within one month of the effective date of this Agreement, Family Dollar shall hire or designate an employee to serve as an ADA Coordinator. That employee shall have sufficient training and authority to undertake meaningful efforts to ensure that all Family Dollar stores in the state of Rhode Island are in compliance with the terms of this Agreement. While the ADA Coordinator may have other primary duties, this employee should also be available to discuss, explain and coordinate the handling of ADA training and complaints pursuant to this Agreement.
  4. Within 60 days of the effective date of this Agreement, Family Dollar shall ensure that all regional directors, district managers, store managers, and store employees throughout the stores owned, leased or operated by Family Dollar in the state of Rhode Island will have completed training regarding title III of the ADA. At a minimum, each training will include: (i) general background on the ADA; (ii) an overview of Family Dollar’s accessibility policies, practices, and procedures; and (iv) the process for responding to ADA requests and complaints (or where to direct requests and complaints, as appropriate). New employees with comparable responsibilities hired during the term of this Agreement shall be provided comparable training within 30 days of hire.
  5. During the term of this Agreement, Family Dollar shall send notice to the United States, along with all supporting documentation, of any written complaint it receives that an employee, officer or agent of Family Dollar has engaged in title III violations ofthe ADA within the state of Rhode Island. Family Dollar shall provide such notice to the United States within fifteen days after it receives the complaint.
  6. During the term of this Agreement, Family Dollar will provide a report three months after the Effective Date and annually thereafter on the anniversary of the Effective Date of this Agreement, and periodically upon request, to the United States, regarding Family Dollar’s progress with this Agreement. In these reports, Family Dollar will document: (a) all training (by date and the content of the training); (b) the adoption or modification of any ADA-related policies, practices, or procedures; and (c) copies of any ADA surveys, inspections or evaluations conducted by Family Dollar stores in the state of Rhode Island.
  7. Within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement, Family Dollar will pay to the United States a civil penalty in the amount of $7,500 as authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(2)(C) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.504(a)(3), as amended. Family Dollar shall issue a check to the attention of Amy R. Romero, United States Attorney’s Office, 50 Kennedy Plaza, 8th Floor, Providence, RI 02903.


  1. As consideration for the Agreement set forth above, the United States will not institute any civil action under the ADA based on the allegations raised in DJ # 202-66-37 except as provided in Paragraph 19 below.
  2. The United States shall have the right to verify compliance with this Agreement and the ADA, both as set forth in this Agreement and through any means available to the general public, including visits to the public areas of Family Dollar. The United States shall have the right to inspect Family Dollar facilities at any time, with or without notice to Family DollarIf the United States believes that this Agreement or any portion of it has been violated, it will raise its concerns with Family Dollar and the parties will attempt to resolve the concerns in good faith. If the parties are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue(s) raised within 30 days of the date that the United States provides notice to Family Dollar, the United States may institute a civil action in the United States District Court to enforce this Agreement or title III of the ADA against Family Dollar.
  3. Failure by the United States to enforce any provision of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to do so with regard to any provision of this Agreement.
  4. This Agreement shall be binding on Family Dollar, including all principals, agents, executors, administrators, representatives, employees, successors in interest, beneficiaries, and assignees. In the event that Family Dollar seeks to sell, transfer or assign all or part of its interest during the term of this Agreement, as a condition of sale, transfer, or assignment, Family Dollar shall obtain the written accession of the successor or assignee to any obligation remaining under this Agreement for the remaining term of this Agreement.
  5. This Agreement memorializes the commitments made by Family Dollar to increase accessibility of Family Dollar and the terms under which the United States has agreed to conclude this particular investigation of Family Dollar without further review or enforcement action. This Agreement is not intended to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other law that is not specifically addressed in this Agreement, including any other claims for discrimination on the basis of disability. Nothing in this Agreement is intended to change Family Dollar’s obligation to otherwise comply with the requirements of the ADA.
  6. 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. This Agreement is limited to the facts set forth herein and it does not purpose to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA, including violations of the alterations or new construction provisions of the ADA, or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect the continuing responsibility of Family Dollar to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
  7. If any provision of this Agreement is determined by any court to be unenforceable, the other terms of this Agreement shall nonetheless remain in full force and effect, provided, however, that if the severance of any such provision materially alters the rights or obligations of the parties, the United States and Family Dollar shall engage in good faith negotiations in order to adopt such mutually agreeable amendment to this Agreement as may be necessary to restore the parties as closely as possible to the initially agreed-upon relative rights and obligations.\A signor of this Agreement in a representative capacity for Family Dollar agrees that he or she is authorized to bind Family Dollar to this Agreement.
  8. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it may be made available to any person.
  9. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
  10. The term of this Agreement will be two years from the effective date.
  11. All notifications under this Agreement shall be sent to the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Rhode Island, 50 Kennedy Plaza, 8th Floor, Providence, RI 02903, Attn: AUSA Amy Romero,


United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island

Amy R. Romero
Assistant U.S. Attorney
District of Rhode Island
50 Kennedy Plaza, 8th Floor
Providence, RI 02903
401-709-5010 (tel)
401-709-5001 (fax)

Dated: 9/23/19


Keith P. Zanni
Assistant Attorney General Counsel, Merchandise and Operations
500 Volvo Parkway
Chesapeake, VA 23320
(757)321-5899 (tel)
(757)321-5949 (fax)

Dated: 9/23/19