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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Project Civic Access Settlement Agreement between United States Department of Justice and the City of Atlanta, Georgia DR-GA-0004
Docket / Court docket unknown ( No Court )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
Project Civic Access is an initiative of the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (DOJ), the purpose of which is to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life and have full access to government services and facilities, as ... read more >
Project Civic Access is an initiative of the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (DOJ), the purpose of which is to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in civic life and have full access to government services and facilities, as required by Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and its implementing regulations.

As part of Project Civic Access, DOJ attorneys and investigators carry out compliance reviews investigating cities and local governments to determine their degree of success in meeting their obligations under Title II of the ADA. After conducting these reviews, the DOJ negotiates out-of-court settlements requiring these local governments to come into compliance with their ADA obligations within a specified time. The DOJ is specifically authorized to conduct compliance investigations and to negotiate settlements with local governments under the ADA and the Department's implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35.

This out-of-court settlement between the City of Atlanta, GA and the US DOJ, entered in December 2009, was the 174th such agreement reached as a result of Project Civic Access. Prior to the settlement, the DOJ conducted an extensive compliance review, investigating all government facilities constructed or altered after January 26, 1992, the accessibility of services and programs offered at these and other government facilities, and the accessibility of the City's policies and procedures regarding voting, emergency management and disaster prevention, and sidewalk maintenance.

As summarized in the DOJ's press release, this settlement required the City of Atlanta to:
  • Make physical modifications to its facilities so that parking, entrances and routes into facilities, parking lots, public telephones, restrooms, service counters and drinking fountains are more accessible (the settlement included over 150 pages of attachments listing specific facility violations to be remedied) ;
  • Make specific modifications to improve access to city parks and tennis courts;
  • Officially recognize Georgia's telephone relay service and training staff to use the relay service to ensure effective communication for people who are deaf or hard of hearing;
  • Continue to ensure that 9-1-1 emergency service calls placed by persons with disabilities who use text telephones (TTYs) are answered as quickly as other calls, that such calls are monitored for timing and accuracy, and that employees are trained and practiced in using a TTY to make and receive calls;
  • Implement a plan to improve the accessibility of city sidewalks and provide for the installation of accessible curb ramps throughout Atlanta; (requiring, within three years of the date of the settlement, that curb cuts be added to all intersections of roads constructed or altered after January 26, 1992, including all roads resurfaced or repaved in this period.)
  • Ensure that the city's official website is accessible to persons with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or have low vision;
  • Ensure equal access to emergency management services for persons with disabilities;
  • Develop a method for providing information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the city's accessible services, activities and programs;
  • Install signs at inaccessible entrances to facilities directing persons with disabilities to accessible entrances;
  • Post, publish and distribute a notice to inform members of the public of the ADA's provisions and their applicability to the city's programs, services and activities;
  • Adopt a grievance procedure to deal with complaints of disability discrimination relating to city programs and services.


The Settlement also required the City to come into compliance with Title I of the ADA, requiring that it not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of disability, and that it make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified applicant or employee with a disability upon request unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship on the operation of the City's business.

The settlement agreement was to remain in place for three years, or until both the City and the DOJ agree that all actions required by the Agreement have been completed, whichever is later. It is not clear whether the agreement expired on December 8, 2012, some later date, or whether it is still in place. Violations of the agreement could result in the DOJ initiating enforcement litigation against the City of Atlanta.

The Clearinghouse includes a representative sample of other Project Civic Access settlements as well, see related cases below.

Alex Colbert-Taylor - 11/07/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals and Timekeeping
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Reporting
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
disability, unspecified
Hearing impairment
Mental impairment
Mobility impairment
Visual impairment
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Barrier Removal
Bathrooms
Buildings
Courts
Failure to train
Funding
Government Services (specify)
Housing
Housing assistance
Parking
Phone
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
Sidewalks
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
TTY/Close Captioning/etc.
Website
Mental Disability
Developmental disability without intellectual disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) City of Atlanta, Georgia
Plaintiff Description This is a settlement that resulted from a US Department of Justice compliance review conducted to investigate the City of Atlanta's compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The settlement was negotiated between the DOJ and the City of Atlanta, GA without the filing of a lawsuit.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2009 - 2012
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Case Listing DR-OH-0002 : Project Civic Access Settlement Agreement between United States Department of Justice and the City of Toledo, OH (No Court)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Insurer Must Pay $100.5 Million in Redlining Case
The New York Times
Written: Oct. 27, 1998
By: Joseph B. Treaster
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Nationwide Settles Virginia Redlining Suit
Property Casualty 360
Written: May. 06, 2000
By: Amanda Levin
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
DOJ Press Release: Justice Department Signs Agreement with City of Atlanta to Ensure Civic Access for Persons with Disabilities 12/08/2009
DR-GA-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
Settlement Agreement between the United States and the City of Atlanta, Georgia 12/09/2009
DR-GA-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
All Attachments for Settlement Agreement between the United States and the City of Atlanta (note no attachments E or H exist) 12/09/2009
DR-GA-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Milton, Naomi (District of Columbia)
DR-GA-0004-0001
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
DR-GA-0004-0001
Wodatch, John L. (District of Columbia)
DR-GA-0004-0001
Worden, Jeanine M (District of Columbia)
DR-GA-0004-0001
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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