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 Toledo, OH and the US DOJ, entered in December 2009, was the first such agreement reached as a result of Project Civic Access. The DOJ has entered two hundred settlements with other municipalities since the project began.
Prior to this settlement, the DOJ conducted an extensive compliance review, investigating government facilities constructed or altered after January 26, 1992, and the accessibility of services and programs offered at these and other government facilities.
This settlement against Toledo imposes less expansive obligations on the City than those required by most of the later Project Civic Access settlements, which, for instance, often require cities retroactively to add curb cuts to all intersects of roads constructed, modified after January 26, 1992, and which sometimes include terms prohibiting disability discrimination in employment. The settlement with Toledo was primarily focused on modifying buildings and other government-operated facilities such as parks to make them compliant with the ADA. The Settlement listed 53 such facilities where the City provided services or programs, and went into significant detail about the necessary modifications required at many of them in order to fulfill the settlement and bring them into compliance with the ADA.
The settlement agreement was to remain in place for two years, or until full compliance with this Agreement by the City has been achieved. It is not clear whether this means the settlement would be continue to be enforced after two years if the DOJ believed the City had failed to achieve compliance. Thus it is not clear whether the agreement expired in August 2001, 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 Toledo.
The Clearinghouse includes a representative sample of other Project Civic Access settlements as well, see related cases below.Alex Colbert-Taylor - 11/06/2014