EDTX Reaches American with Disabilities Act Decision with Smith County, Texas Relating to Listening to-Impaired People | USAO-EDTX
TYLER, TEXAS – The Eastern District of Texas announced today that it has entered into a collaborative solution agreement under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Smith County, Texas to ensure that deaf or hearing impaired people are as effective as possible others can communicate.
The matter was initiated after the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice received a complaint from a hearing impaired person. The complaint alleged that Smith County, which offers services, programs and activities in its district court, has not taken reasonable steps to ensure that communication with the deaf and hard of hearing is as effective as communication between the hearing impaired.
The ADA requires that public institutions such as Smith County provide appropriate tools and services, when necessary, to give people with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from any service, program, or activity, including in a courthouse.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas reviewed the Smith County Courthouse’s policies, training, and procedures relating to the provision of tools and services to the deaf or hard of hearing and found it to be Title II of the ADA. The United States – along with Smith County – identified the areas of non-compliance and cooperatively implemented the resolution.
Under the terms of the Agreement, Smith County will update its website to ensure that the website contains sufficient information to inform those with vision or hearing impairment how and where to access any tools or services. Smith County will provide Title II training relating to the provision of tools or services to the courtroom to ensure that all individuals are able to participate in the services, programs and activities offered by Smith County; and Smith County will ensure that adequate tools or services are available in the courthouse in accordance with 2010 ADA standards.
“Deaf and hearing impaired people are entitled to full and equal opportunities to effectively communicate with and benefit from all services, programs and activities,” said Acting US Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. “We commend Smith County for their full cooperation on this investigation and their commitment to ensuring that effective communication and support services are provided to deaf and hard of hearing community members.”
For more information about the ADA, visit http://www.ada.gov or call the ADA Toll Free Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY). ADA complaints can be filed online at http://www.ada.gov/complaint.
This matter has been investigated by US Attorney Aimee M. Cooper and US Assistant Attorney Betty Young.