# 149 III-4.

2000 December 29, 1994

The Honorable Sam Nunn United States Senate 303 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510-1001 Dear Senator Nunn: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, who seeks information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). XXXXXXXXXXXXX states her husband is a quadriplegic and is unable to sign his own name, but that she has power of attorney to sign his name for him. XXXXXXXXXXXXX seeks to file a complaint under the ADA against First Union Bank for allegedly refusing to recognize her husband as the executor of his mother's estate, because of his inability to sign his own name. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in commercial facilities and places of public accommodation, including financial institutions. Title III requires, among other things, that owners and operators of places of public accommodation make reasonable modifications to their policies, practices, and procedures, if those modifications are necessary to provide services to persons with disabilities. The only limits on this obligation are that the required modification must be reasonable and may not fundamentally alter the nature of the services provided at the place of public accommodation. A bank policy of refusing to transact business with persons who cannot sign their own names would be subject to the reasonable modification requirement. The bank would be required

to modify its policy, in order to allow a person with a valid power of attorney to sign a document on behalf of an individual who is unable to sign his or her own name because of a disability, if such a modification is reasonable and would not fundamentally alter the nature of the bank's services. Title III can be enforced by private litigation, alternate dispute resolution such as mediation, or by filing a complaint with the Department of Justice. The Department is not able to investigate all the complaints of title III violations that it receives, and we have determined not to investigate this complaint. However, there are other entities that may be able to assist XXXXXXXXXXXXX in resolving her complaint. We have enclosed a list of such entities located in Georgia. In addition, we are enclosing copies of three status reports that detail the actions that the Civil Rights Division has undertaken to enforce titles II and III of the ADA. These reports illustrate that, although the Department of Justice is unable to investigate every complaint that it receives, we are taking strong action to enforce the law. I hope this information is useful to you in responding to your constituent. If XXXXXXXXXXXXX wishes to have further information about the requirements of the ADA, she may contact our ADA information line at (800) 514-0301 (Voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TDD) between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for Thursday between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. EST. I hope this information is useful to your constituent. Sincerely,

Deval L. Patrick Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures