1. The parties to this Settlement Agreement (Agreement) are the United States of America and Young Shakespeare Players East, Inc. (YSPE), a Massachusetts not-for-profit corporation located in Turners Falls, Massachusetts.
  2. This matter was initiated by USAO Complaint No. 2016V00099 and DJ No. 202-36-294, which was a complaint filed with the United States Department of Justice (the United States) against YSPE alleging disability discrimination.


  1. Complainant Ms. W.L. is the mother of M.W.L., who is a minor and diagnosed with a peanut allergy. Ms. W.L. asserts that M.W.L.'s peanut allergy can result in anaphylaxis, which can cause shock, serious drops in blood pressure, and the narrowing of airways, and thus, substantially limits a major life activity, namely, breathing, and accordingly the United States finds that M.W.L. has a disability within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12102 and 28 C.F.R. § 36.104. Complainant Ms. P.L. is the mother of S.P.L., who is a minor and a friend of M.W.L.
  2. YSPE is a private, non-profit theater company for children ages 7-18 that performs full-length works of Shakespeare. The United States finds that YSPE is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7) because (a) it is a place of education and a place of entertainment and (b) accordingly, YSPE is a public accommodation subject to the requirements of Title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189, and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 36.104 because it is a private entity that owns, operates, leases or leases to a place of public accommodation.
  3. 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)(1)(A) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.502. The United States determined that, prior to YSPE's presentation of 'The Tempest" in 2015, YSPE effectively excluded M.W.L. from participating in the theater company because it failed to offer an appropriate reasonable accommodation. The United States also determined that when S.P.L. advocated on M.W.L.'s behalf, S.P.L. also was excluded from participating at YSPE.
  4. YSPE challenges the factual findings and some of the legal conclusions of the United States and denies that it violated the ADA or any other state or federal law.
  5. Both the United States and YSPE believe that it is in the interest of children who may participate in YSPE programs in the future to enter into this Settlement Agreement. By entering into this Settlement Agreement, YSPE does not concede liability or any factual or legal element of liability.


  1. General Obligations. YSPE agrees that it will comply with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 12182 of the ADA and its implementing regulation at 28 C.F.R. Part 36. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a); 28 C.F.R. § 36.201. The ADA also prohibits public accommodation from failing or refusing to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures as necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the public accommodation can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the services. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii); 28 C.F.R. §36.302.
  2. The YSPE board of directors, including its Director, will be responsible for ensuring that the policies and procedures set forth in paragraphs 10-12 below are complied with and implemented.
  3. Disability Nondiscrimination Policy. Within thirty (30) days of the Effective Date of this Agreement, YSPE shall submit the following to the United States, for review and approval:
    1. A disability nondiscrimination policy that will expressly state the following:
      1. YSPE does not discriminate against any individual on the basis of disability;
      2. YSPE does not and will not retaliate against, or coerce in any way, any person trying to exercise the rights of any other person under this Agreement or the ADA;
      3. YSPE does not impose or apply eligibility criteria that screens out or tends to screen out individuals with disabilities, pursuant to 28 C.F.R. § 36.301;
      4. Individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, YSPE's goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations; and
      5. YSPE makes, and will continue to make, reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, and procedures when necessary to afford YSPE's goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.302, unless YSPE can demonstrate that the reasonable modifications will fundamentally alter the nature of YSPE's goods, services, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.
    2. A description of the process that YSPE will use to provide reasonable modifications necessary to individuals with disabilities, as required under Title III of the ADA.
      1. After a child is accepted to YSPE, a parent/guardian shall have the opportunity to notify YSPE that a child needs a reasonable modification based on disability, and to request modifications;
      2. Upon receipt of a request for a modification based on disability, YSPE will conduct an individualized assessment based on the needs of the specific child. YSPE will allow a modification to a YSPE policy, practice or procedure unless YSPE can demonstrate that the modification fundamentally alters YSPE's services and programs;
      3. YSPE will provide the individual requesting the modification with written notice of their decision within one week of the request. This written notice will explain, in detail, the scope of the reasonable modification. YSPE will also respond to any request for clarification on the scope of the reasonable modification. Although YSPE will respond appropriately and in a reasonable amount of time to a request for a reasonable modification regardless of when it is received, children and their families are strongly encouraged to make such requests at least three (3) weeks prior to the start of rehearsals; and
      4. When there is a disagreement between the parent/guardian requesting a modification and YSPE, YSPE will have a process to resolve the disagreement.
  4. Training. For any child enrolled at YSPE who seeks a reasonable modification pursuant to paragraph 10.b., YSPE will ensure that the YSPE director is trained with a general overview of the disability and how to provide the reasonable modification. This training shall be given by the parent/guardian of the child, or by a qualified person identified by or agreed upon by the parent/guardian.
  5. Reporting. For the term of this Agreement, YSPE will submit to the United States on an annual basis a report that lists the children who have been identified by their parent/guardian as requiring a reasonable modification, and the reasonable modifications provided to those children.


  1. The Effective Date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
  2. The duration of this Agreement will be three (3) years from the Effective Date.
  3. The United States may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the United States believes that this Agreement or any portion of it has been violated, it will raise its concerns with YSPE and the parties will attempt to resolve the concerns in good faith. The United States will give YSPE thirty (30) days from the date it notifies YSPE of any breach of this Agreement to cure that breach before instituting any court action. If the parties are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution within that period, the United States may bring a civil action in federal district court to enforce this Agreement or Title III, and may in such action seek any relief available under law.
  4. All notices, reports, or other such documents required by this Agreement shall be sent by e-mail and U.S. priority mail to the following address:

    Gregory J. Dorchak
    Special Assistant U.S. Attorney
    Moakley Federal Courthouse
    1 Courthouse Way, Suite 9200
    Boston, MA 02210

    Any and all notices to YSPE required by this Agreement shall be sent by e-mail and U.S. priority mail to the following address:

    Frank P. DiPrima
    Law Office of Frank DiPrima, P.A.
    3 Carriage Hill Drive
    Morristown, NJ 07960

  5. During the term of this Agreement, YSPE will notify the United States of any written complaint, lawsuit, charge, or grievance alleging discrimination by YSPE on the basis of disability. Such notification must be provided in writing within fifteen (15) days of when YSPE has received written notice of the allegation and will include at a minimum, the nature of the allegation, the name of the individual bringing the allegation, and any documentation possessed by YSPE relevant to the allegation.
  6. In consideration for the terms set forth above, the United States will not institute a civil action alleging violations of the ADA based on USAO Complaint No. 2016V00099 and DJ No. 202-36-294 except as provided in paragraph 15, above.
  7. Failure by the United States to enforce this entire Agreement or any of its provisions shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other provisions of the Agreement.
  8. If any term of this Agreement is determined by any court to be unenforceable, the other terms of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.
  9. 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 and does not affect YSPE's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
  10. This Agreement shall be binding on YSPE and its agents. In the event YSPE seeks to transfer or assign all or part of its interest in YSPE, and the successor or assignee intends to carry on the same or similar activity, YSPE shall obtain the written assent of the successor or assignee to assume any obligations remaining under this Agreement for the remaining term of this Agreement.
  11. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the United States and YSPE on the matters raised in the Agreement and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by any party or agents of any party, that is not contained in this written agreement, including its attachments, shall be enforceable.
  12. A signatory to this document in a representative capacity for either party represents that he or she is authorized to bind that party to this Agreement.



/s/ Frank P. DiPrima
Frank P. DiPrima, Esq.
Law Offices of Frank DiPrima, P.A.
3 Carriage Hill Drive
Morristown, NJ  07960
(o)  (973) 656-0251
(m) (973) 216-8989
Attorney for Young Shakespeare
Players East, Inc.



Date: December 12, 2017




/s/ Jennifer A. Serafyn
Jennifer A. Serafyn, Chief
Stephen Heymann
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Gregory Dorchak,
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney
Civil Rights Unit
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Moakley Federal Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 9200
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 748-3100


Date: December 18, 2017