A deaf juvenile resided in a Maryland juvenile correctional facility operated by a contracting corporation, Youth Services International, Inc. ("YSI"). YSI operated this facility and over a dozen more, in several states. The juvenile communicated via American Sign Language ("ASL") for in-person ...
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A deaf juvenile resided in a Maryland juvenile correctional facility operated by a contracting corporation, Youth Services International, Inc. ("YSI"). YSI operated this facility and over a dozen more, in several states. The juvenile communicated via American Sign Language ("ASL") for in-person communications, but the facility did not provide sign language interpretation services in its educational, recreational, and rehabilitative programs. YSI did not provide auxiliary aids or services to enable the juvenile's communications, whether at the Maryland facility or as a part of an aftercare program YSI conducted. The juvenile complained to the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") that YSI discriminated against him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). After inquiry, the DOJ agreed. This finding led DOJ to negotiate and enter into a March 2004, settlement agreement with YSI.
Under the settlement, YSI paid money damages to the juvenile, to the United States, and agreed to a number of remedial steps. The remediation obligations included ensuring availability of auxiliary aids and services to deaf and hard of hearing juveniles participating in YSI's programs and services; evaluating juveniles promptly to determine what services are needed, if any; providing qualified sign language or other interpreters on-site and/or on-call; establishing procedures for acquiring interpretation services; providing availability of at least one telecommunications device for deaf/hard of hearing juveniles; ensuring visual alarms are provided to hearing-impaired juveniles; and staff training on these topics. Additionally, YSI was obligated to make periodic reports detailing its efforts to comply with the settlement. It filed no reports, however, for over a year and a half. The DOJ had to repeatedly request these filings until an untimely report arrived approximately twenty months after the settlement had been reached. The report showed widespread lack of compliance. DOJ notified YSI of its non-compliance and conducted a review of six additional YSI facilities in three additional states, finding non-compliance in each facility.
In view of the non-compliance, on July 11, 2006, DOJ brought a civil action against YSI in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, seeking a declaration that YSI discriminated against persons with hearing disabilities, in violation of Title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189, and of the DOJ's implementing regulations, 28 C.F.R., pt. 38. The government sought to enjoin YSI from further discriminatory conduct and to have the court order payment of money damages to persons harmed by YSI's unlawful discriminatory behavior (other than the original, already-paid complainant). At the same time, the parties jointly moved for conditional dismissal of the lawsuit, in light of the settlement agreement which would, now, be enforceable by the court. District Judge Benson Everett Legg granted the motion for conditional dismissal, placing the case on the inactive docket for three and a half years, to be re-opened during that time upon either party's request.
We have no information about additional activity, if any, in the case.Mike Fagan - 05/20/2008