#177 III-1.0000 III-5.

1000 November 13, 1995

The Honorable Arlen Specter United States Senate Washington, D.C. 20510-6275 Dear Senator Specter: Thank you for your recent letter to Assistant Attorney General Deval Patrick expressing your continued support for this Department's enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). In that letter, you noted that Days Inns of America, Inc. had informed you about the Civil Rights Division's investigation of several newly constructed Days Inns hotels that fail to comply with the ADA's architectural requirements for accessibility. Based on the information that you received from Days Inns of America, you expressed some concerns about the Department's interpretation of the scope of 303 of the ADA. Because these matters are currently open and under investigation, the Department cannot comment on them in detail, although we do want to respond to your concerns as fully as possible. We agree with you that property owners, architects, and builders are responsible for the accessible design and construction of new facilities. Indeed, that is precisely why, for each facility under investigation, we have included several parties as respondents, including the owner of the facility, the architect or engineer who designed the facility, and the general contractor or construction manager in charge of the construction of the facility. Thus, in addition to pursuing these matters with Days Inns of America, we are also pursuing them with at least 84 additional parties. We have indicated to each of the parties that we believe each of them bears full responsibility for the facility's compliance with the ADA's accessibility requirements. We have had extensive discussions regarding potential remedies for the ADA violations at particular hotels, and possible settlement of individual cases. Your letter also raised a concern that an investigation of a

party with an attenuated connection to the design and construction of a new facility, such as a franchisor or licensor, could discourage compliance with the ADA. Again, because this matter is still under investigation, we are constrained in our ability to respond in detail. As a general matter, we agree with you that the issue of liability depends on the facts, particularly on the entity's involvement in the design and construction process. Thus, where the licensor or franchisor of a chain of facilities -- whether hotels, restaurants, department stores, or other types of facilities -- exercises a significant degree of control over the design and construction of the facilities that will bear its tradenames and trade dress, then that franchisor or licensor (or any other entity similarly involved) shares the responsibility for ensuring that the facilities in its chain are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Given the resources and sophistication of most franchisors or licensors, we do not believe that such an entity should be able to disregard the ADA's requirements, and impose the full responsibility for compliance onto the typically small businessmen and women who own the facilities. I hope this information is helpful and resolves your concerns about our investigation. Sincerely,

Andrew Fois Assistant Attorney General