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: EV 96-28-C versus ) ) COMPLAINT DAYS INNS OF AMERICA, INC., ) HOSPITALITY FRANCHISE SYSTEMS, ) INC., SARP, LTD., and ) JOHN HEARD ASSOCIATES, INC., ) ) Defendants. ) ) The United States of America alleges: 1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the "ADA" or the "Act"), 42 U.S.C. SS 12181 through 12189, against: a. Days Inns of America, Inc. ("DIA"), the licensor of the Days Inn chain of economy hotels, including a Days Inn hotel at 4819 Tecumseh Lane in Evansville, Indiana; b. Hospitality Franchise Systems, Inc. ("HFS"), the parent company of defendant DIA; c. Sarp, Ltd., ("Sarp"), the owner of the Days Inn hotel in Evansville; and d. John Heard Associates, Inc., ("Heard"), the architect of the Days Inn hotel in Evansville. 2. This court has jurisdiction of this action under 42 U.S.C. S 12188(b)(1)(B) and 28 U.S.C. SS 1331 and 1345 The court may grant declaratory and other relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. SS 2201 and 2202. 01-01178 3. Defendant HFS is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at 339 Jefferson Road, Parsippany, New Jersey 07054. 4. Defendant DIA is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at 339 Jefferson Road, Parsippany, New Jersey 07054. Defendant DIA is a wholly owned subsidiary of defendant HFS. 5. Defendant Sarp is an Indiana corporation with its principal place of business at 2221 Highway 41 North, Evansville, Indiana 47711. 6. Defendant Heard is a Georgia corporation with its
principal place of business at 115 West Main Street, Cumming, Georgia 30130. 7. Venue is proper in this district. A substantial part of the events and omissions giving rise to this action occurred in this district. In addition, defendant Sarp resides in this district. 8. Defendant DIA and, upon information and belief, defendant HFS, operate a system of approximately 1,500 hotels throughout the United States under various trade and service names and marks including "Days Inn," "Days Hotel," "Days Suites," "DayStops," "Days Lodge," and others (collectively, the "Days Inn system"). Defendants DIA and HFS do not own any of the hotels that participate in the Days Inn system; rather, DIA has entered into and maintains license agreements (the "license Complaint Page 2 01-01179agreements") with the owners or the agents of the owners of each facility that participates in the Days Inn system. 9. One of the hotels in the Days Inn system is the newly constructed Days Inn hotel at 4819 Tecumseh Lane in Evansville, Indiana (the "Evansville Days Inn" or "the hotel"). 10. The Evansville Days Inn is a non-residential facility whose operations affect commerce. As such, it is a commercial facility within the meaning of section 303(a) of the Act. 42 U.S.C. S 12183(a). In addition, because the Evansville Days Inn is a place of lodging, it is also a public accommodation within the meaning of section 303(a) of the Act. Id. 11. Upon information and belief, the last application for a building permit for the Evansville Days Inn was made or certified to be complete after January 26, 1992. 12. Upon information and belief, the first certificate of occupancy for the Evansville Days Inn was issued after January 26, 1993. 13. Defendant Sarp is a private entity that owns the Evansville Days Inn, and initiated, contracted for, or participated in the design and construction of the hotel. 14. Defendant Heard is a private entity engaged in the business of providing architectural and design specification services. Heard participated in the design and construction of the Evansville Days Inn by designing the hotel and the plans he Complaint Page 3 01-01180created did not conform to the Standards for Accessible Design, 28 C.F.R. Part 36, Appendix A ("the Standards"). 15. Defendants DIA and HFS controlled or participated in the design and construction of the Evansville Days Inn. Among other things, DIA or HFS or both of them:
a. developed standard site plans, building plans, room details, and other architectural drawings and specifications for new Days Inn facilities; b. by means of the license agreement, required defendant Sarp to design the hotel to conform to the plans, drawings, and specifications contained in the design standards prepared by DIA and HFS; c. by means of the license agreement, required defendant Sarp, prior to construction of the Evansville Days Inn, to submit to DIA for DIA's review and approval the facility's site plan, working drawings, and detail specifications; d. by means of the license agreement, required defendant Sarp to construct the Evansville Days Inn in accord with the plans, drawings, and specifications approved by DIA; e. by means of the license agreement, required defendant Sarp upon completion of construction, to obtain from DIA a final approval of the facility before the hotel could begin operating as part of the Days Inn system; and Complaint Page 4 01-01181 f. upon information and belief, inspected the Evansville Days Inn before allowing it to join the Days Inn system and on at least one other occasion thereafter. 16. The Evansville Days Inn is not readily accessible to or usable by individuals with disabilities, as required by section 303(a)(1) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. S 12183(a)(1). The hotel fails in numerous respects to comply with the Department of Justice's regulation implementing title III of the ADA, 28 C.F.R. Part 36, ("the regulation"), including the Standards. See 28 C.F.R. SS 36.401, 36.406. 17. Illustrative examples of the failures of the Evansville Days Inn to comply with the requirements of the Act, the regulation, and the Standards include, but are not limited to, the items set forth below. "Accessible," as used below, means "readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities," as required by section 303(a)(1) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. S 12183(a)(1), and as specified by the Standards. a. The hotel has too few accessible guest rooms. Because it has 60 total guest rooms, the Evansville Days Inn is required to have four accessible guest rooms, but it has only three rooms designated for use by individuals with disabilities. See Standards S 9.1.2. b. Guests with disabilities at the Evansville Days Inn do not have the same choice of accommodations afforded
to other guests. The hotel has guest rooms with two beds, Complaint Page 5 01-01182and guest rooms with oversized whirlpool tubs, but all of the guest rooms designated for use by individuals with disabilities have only one bed, and none has an oversized whirlpool tub. See Standards S 9.1.4. c. The guest rooms that are designated for use by individuals with disabilities are not accessible, because various operating controls, mechanisms, and features are mounted too high to be reached by an individual using a wheelchair, are blocked by the placement of the beds, tables, or other furniture, or require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist, which is difficult or impossible for individuals with limited manual dexterity, including many individuals with paraplegia or quadriplegia. As a result, many individuals with disabilities will not be able, in these guest rooms, to lock the security lock on the guest room door, open or lock the guest room's connecting door, turn on or off the table and bedside lamps, operate or control the room's heating and air-conditioning unit, or use the clothes rod. See Standards SS 4.13.9, 4.25.3, 4.27.4. d. The doors to the bathrooms in the standard guest rooms -- that is, the guest rooms that are not designated for use by individuals with disabilities -- are too narrow. If someone who uses a wheelchair must stay in a nonaccessible guest room (if, for instance, the accessible guest rooms are already taken), or visits another guest in a Complaint Page 6 01-01183non-accessible guest room, he or she will not be able even to enter the bathroom in that room. See Standards S 9.4. e. The hotel has no accessible parking spaces. While three parking space are designated for use by individuals with disabilities, none of those spaces is accessible, because none is level. Each slopes away from the building, making it very difficult and potentially hazardous for individuals who use wheelchairs to transfer between their cars and their wheelchairs, because their wheelchairs will tend to roll away while they are attempting to transfer. See Standards S 4.6.3. f. Several doors at the hotel -- including the doors at the main entrance, and the doors at both the north and south ends of the building -- have thresholds that are too high, so that many wheelchair users will not be able to cross them to enter or leave the building without assistance. See Standards S 4.13.8.
g. The hotel's stairways do not have cane-detectable barriers to prevent people who are blind or who have low vision from walking into the underside of those stairways. (A cane-detectable barrier can consist of any object that a person using a cane can detect before running into the stairway, such as a railing or a curb.) See Standards S 4.4.2. Complaint Page 7 01-01184 18. The failures of the defendants to design and construct the Evansville Days Inn to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities constitute a pattern or practice of discrimination within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. S 12188(b)(1)(B)(i) and 28 C.F.R. S 36.503(a). 19. In addition to constituting a pattern or practice of discrimination, the failures of the defendants to design and construct the Evansville Days Inn to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities constitute unlawful discrimination that raises an issue of general public importance within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. S 12188(b)(1)(B)(ii) and 28 C.F.R. S 36.503(b). PRAYER FOR RELIEF The United States prays that the Court: A. Declare that the defendants have violated title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. SS 12181 through 12189, and the regulations thereunder, 28 C.F.R. Part 36, by failing to design and construct a new facility for first occupancy after January 26, 1993, that is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; B. Order the defendants to undertake all repairs, rebuilding, or other remedial steps necessary to bring the Evansville Days Inn into full compliance with the requirements of title III of the ADA and the Department of Justice's regulation Complaint Page 8 01-01185implementing title III, including the Standards for Accessible Design; C. With respect to any facilities that they may design and construct in the future, order the defendants to design and construct those facilities in such a manner that they will be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, as required by section 303(a) of title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. S 12183(a), sections 36.401 and 36.406 of the title III regulation, 28 C.F.R. SS 36.401 and 36.406, and the Standards for Accessible Design, 28 C.F.R. Part 36, Appendix A; D. Assess a civil penalty against each defendant in an amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. S 12188(b)(2)(c), to vindicate the
public interest; and Complaint Page 9 01-01186 E. Order such other appropriate relief as the interests of justice may require. JANET RENO Attorney General By: JUDITH ANN STEWART DEVAL L. PATRICK United States Attorney Assistant Attorney General Southern District of Indiana Civil Rights Division TIM A. BAKER JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney L. IRENE BOWEN, Deputy Chief U.S. Courthouse, 5th Floor Disability Rights Section 46 E. Ohio Street Civil Rights Division Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 (317) 226-6333 THOMAS M. CONTOIS ALYSE S. BASS KEN S. NAKATA Attorneys Disability Rights Section Civil Rights Division U.S. Department of Justice Post Office Box 66738 Washington, D.C. 20035-6738 (202) 514-6014 (202) 616-9511 (202) 307-2232 Complaint Page 10 01-01187
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