On January 19, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the settlement of an ADA discrimination case it had brought against the owner and operator of an RV resort in Silverhill, Alabama. In its complaint, the Justice Department alleged that the owner and operator of the resort, Wales West LLC, violated Title III of the ADA – which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in public accommodations – when it denied full and equal services to a child and his family because the child is living with HIV. Specifically, the complaint alleged that Wales West LLC, upon learning that a guest family's two-year-old child was living with HIV, banned the family from using the common areas of the Wales West RV Resort and Train and Garden Lovers Family Park, such as the swimming pool and showers. The child's parents had planned a month-long stay at the family-themed RV resort while the father commuted to nearby Mobile, Ala., for ongoing cancer treatment. After Wales West LLC denied them full use of the facilities, the family left early the next morning.
Under the terms of the consent decree, Wales West LLC will establish policies, procedures and training practices to ensure that patrons and their families are not discriminated against on the basis of disability. Wales West LLC will pay a $10,000 civil penalty to the United States and $36,000 in damages to the family that was subject to HIV-related discrimination.
"Ensuring that individuals with disabilities are not subjected to discriminatory, stigmatizing treatment based on unfounded fears and stereotypes is critically important. The ADA protects individuals with HIV and other disabilities from this kind of discrimination," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division in a DOJ press release announcing the settlement.
The press release continues: "Our office is dedicated to providing equal protection of the laws by ensuring equal access to accommodations for those with impairments or disabilities," said Kenyen R. Brown, U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. "Whether it is discrimination against families in a mobile home park, improper lending practices at a bank or other issues regarding fairness, we fully intend to bring cases each time we learn of wrongful discrimination."