1. This matter was initiated by a complaint filed with the Department of Justice regarding the Travel Inn, a California General Partnership, and its three general partners: Chhabil ("Charles") Parmar; Nirmala ("Nikki") D. Parmar; and Dalpathai ("David") Parmar (hereafter collectively "Travel Inn"). The complainant, who is blind, uses a service animal to assist her. Complainant alleged that when she arrived at the Travel Inn to check in for a room for two nights, August 27 and 28, 2004, a Travel Inn employee advised her that, in addition to the regular room charges, she would have to pay an extra $10 charge per night because of her service dog in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189 and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 36.
2. The Travel Inn, located in Vallejo, California, is a place of lodging operated by a private entity whose operations affect commerce. It is thus a place of public accommodation within the meaning of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(A) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.104. The three named general partners are a "public accommodation" because they own, operate, lease or lease to a place of public accommodation.
3. The Department of Justice 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)(1)(A) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.502.
4. In the course of its investigation, the Department of Justice determined the complainant reserved a room for two days. At the time of checking in to the Travel Inn, and after Travel Inn learned that the complainant had a service animal, Travel Inn advised the complainant that there would be a $10 fee for the service animal.
5. There is currently no policy at the Travel Inn regarding the rights of its guests with disabilities and the Travel Inn’s obligations with respect to guests with disabilities who use service animals.
6. In the interest of resolving this matter and securing compliance with the ADA by voluntary means, the parties have agreed to resolve this matter as set forth without adjudication of any factual or legal disputes.
7. The parties to this Agreement are the Department of Justice and the Travel Inn, a California General Partnership, and the general partner owners of the Travel Inn.
8. Pursuant to the ADA, the Travel Inn agrees to ensure that persons with disabilities who are accompanied by their service animals are 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(b)(1)(A)(ii) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.202(b).
9. Pursuant to the ADA, the Travel Inn agrees to make reasonable modifications in its policies, practices, or procedures, when the modifications are necessary to afford its goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities, unless it can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of its goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations as required, 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.302(a).
10. Immediately upon signing the Agreement, the Travel Inn shall adopt the written policy set forth herein as Exhibit A hereto.
11. The Travel Inn shall distribute a copy of the policy to all of its employees, shall display a copy of the policy in a conspicuous place at the registration desk, and shall provide all training necessary to ensure that its employees are familiar with the requirements set forth in the policy.
12. Within 20 business days of the effective date of the Agreement, the Travel Inn shall provide the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California with a copy of the Travel Inn’s written policy and one or more photographs indicating that the policy is prominently displayed at the Travel Inn's registration desk.
13. Within 30 business days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Travel Inn shall compensate the complainant in this matter by sending a certified check in the amount of $500 payable to Jacqueline Mahone-Tyson to the United States Attorney’s Office, 501 I Street, Suite 10-100, Sacramento, California 95814.
14. In consideration of the above actions, the Department of Justice agrees to close the investigation of this complaint and to refrain from bringing a civil action against the Travel Inn for violations of the ADA resulting from complainant’s stay at the Travel Inn in August 2004.
ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AGREEMENT
15. The Department of Justice may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department of Justice believes that the Travel Inn is not in compliance with this Agreement or any requirement contained herein, the Department of Justice agrees to notify the Travel Inn in writing of the alleged non-compliance. The Travel Inn shall have thirty (30) days to respond to the Department 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 Department may seek appropriate relief from the United States District Court. If the Court determines that the Travel Inn has violated the terms of this Agreement and the ADA, the Travel Inn shall be subject to all available remedies under the ADA.
16. Any failure of the Department of Justice to enforce this Agreement or any provision herein with respect to any deadline or any other provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department of Justice’s 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.
17. The Travel Inn and/or the Department of Justice shall provide a copy of this Agreement to any person or entity upon request.
18. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below. The agreement shall remain in effect until three years after its effective date.
19. This Agreement shall be binding on the Department of Justice and the Travel Inn and its successors in interest, and the Travel Inn has a duty to so notify all such successors in interest.
20. 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 or either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, shall be enforceable regarding the matters raised herein. This Agreement does not effect the Travel Inn's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of Title III of the ADA.
21. The person(s) signing this Agreement on behalf of the Travel Inn represents that they are authorized to bind the Travel Inn to this Agreement.
CHHABIL ("Charles") PARMAR
General Partner, Travel Inn
|Dated: 4/18 , 2006
NIRMALA ("Nikki") D. PARMAR
General Partner, Travel Inn
|Dated: 4/18 , 2006
DALPATHAI ("David") PARMAR
General Partner, Travel Inn
|Dated: 4/18 , 2006
For the United States:
|____________________________ Kendall J. Newman
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Chief, Affirmative Civil Litigation
|Dated: 4/26 , 2006
Robert R. Schaldach, Esq.
Attorney for the Travel Inn
|Dated: Aug. 19 , 2006
SERVICE ANIMAL POLICY
Service animals are welcome in the Travel Inn, Vallejo, California (hereafter the "Travel Inn"), and in any of the motel’s facilities that are open to guests. The Travel Inn shall not require persons with disabilities to be separated from their service animals at any time. A service animal is an animal individually trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for himself or herself. The Travel Inn may ask if an animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special ID cards for the animal or ask about the person’s disability. Although some service animals are certified by a State agency, the Travel Inn cannot require proof of an animal’s certification as a service animal prior to allowing the service animal to accompany its owner into the Travel Inn.
The Travel Inn may not require an individual with a disability who requires the assistance of a service animal to pay a deposit or an extra fee as a condition to permitting a service animal to stay with its owner in a Travel Inn room. Also, the Travel Inn cannot require a person with a disability who requires the assistance of a service animal to be isolated from other guests, or treated less favorably than other guests.
The Travel Inn cannot ask a person with a disability to remove his service animal from the premise unless: (1) the animal is out of control and the animal’s owner does not take effective action to control it (for example, a dog that barks repeatedly while in the motel) or (2) the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. However, the Travel Inn shall not make assumptions about how a particular animal is likely to behave; each situation must be considered individually.
The Travel Inn must allow service animals in public areas of the motel even if the state of California or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises. The Travel Inn is not required to provide care or food for a service animal or provide a special location for it to relieve itself. Allergies and fear of animals by employees or other guests are generally not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people with service animals.
For and in consideration of the acceptance of the relief offered to me by Travel Inn, Vallejo, California (hereafter "Travel Inn"), pursuant to a Settlement Agreement between the United States of America and Travel Inn:
I, Jacqueline Mahone-Tyson, release and discharge Travel Inn and its current, former, and future agents, employees, officials, and designees, of and from all legal and equitable claims known or unknown arising out of the facts described in paragraphs 1 through 4 above. I further agree that I will not exercise my right to institute, against Travel Inn, any civil action alleging discrimination on the basis of any of the facts alleged in my complaint.
I acknowledge that a copy of the Settlement Agreement between Travel Inn and the United States of America resolving the matter between them has been made available to me.
I HAVE READ THE RELEASE AND UNDERSTAND THE CONTENTS THEREOF AND I EXECUTE THIS RELEASE OF MY OWN FREE ACT AND DEED
Signed this ______ day of_________, 2006
4433 7th Street
Sacramento, CA 95820
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