Please note: Where descriptions are included, they are intended only to categorize, generally, the issues in the particular case or matter. They usually include DOJ’s allegations of violations, some of which were disputed by respondents or defendants.

Cases that went to litigation, and were resolved by consent decree or other court-approved settlement, are indicated with underlined case captions. All other matters were resolved without litigation, through formal settlement agreements.

Following are examples, by category, of the many settlement agreements and consent decrees that Irene Bowen supervised or personally negotiated while Deputy Section Chief of the Disability Rights Section at the Department of Justice.


Physical accessibility

  • Project Civic Access (comprehensive reviews of and agreements with towns and counties)
    • City of Toledo, Ohio (more than 50 city facilities, the model for Project Civic Access (PCA))
    • Pella, Iowa
    • City of Moscow, Idaho
  • 1996 Olympic Games
    • Metropolitan Atlanta Olympic Games Authority (as well as private entities)
    • Several venues
    • Issues: mostly facility-related, including line of sight over standing spectators, club level restaurant seating
  • New Hampshire Sweepstakes Commission (1300 sites – program access to retailer lottery outlets)
  • Johnson County, Tennessee (sheriff’s office and others)

Effective communication

  • Montgomery County Police Department, Maryland (interpreters, auxiliary aids)
  • City of Houston, Texas (effective communication; municipal courts system, police department, jail)
  • Anne Arundel County, Maryland (auxiliary aids and services at detention center)
  • Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (auxiliary aids, services, policies re: juvenile detainees)
  • Lake County, Illinois (courts)


Jackson, Mississippi (zoning: construction of mental health crisis intervention center)

Kitigawa v. Crowder (Hawaii) (state policy of forbidding visitors to state to bring guide dogs, unless detained first for weeks-long quarantine upon entry to state)



Physical accessibility (new construction, alterations, barrier removal, access to services)

  • Millikin University, Illinois
  • Colorado College
  • Swarthmore University, Pennsylvania
  • University of Chicago, Illinois
  • EDMC (Brown Mackie Colleges, several states, proprietary schools)

Effective communication/auxiliary aids

  • U.S. v. Becker CPA Review (interpreters and other auxiliary aids for review course to prepare for CPA exam)
  • U.S. v. American Association of State Social Work Boards (nationwide; provision of qualified readers in standardized testing for test takers with vision impairments, policies; enforcement of agreement)
  • U.S. v. Robin Singh Educational Services (“Testmasters”) (provision of interpreters for review course to prepare for bar exam)


  • U.S. v. NCAA (NCAA modified many procedures so that the academic abilities of student-athletes with learning disabilities would be measured more accurately).
  • Southeastern Conference (SEC) (high school swimmer with a learning disability prevented from enrolling at university because of an SEC academic eligibility rule)
  • Computer Learning Center (students with learning disabilities required to maintain higher grade point average than other students)


  • Equal Rights Center et al. v. Washington Hospital Center, D.C. (first DOJ comprehensive consent decree ensuring access to a broad range of medical services, including accessible inpatient hospital rooms, barrier removal throughout the hospital, accessible medical equipment, policies, and training
  • Gillespie and U.S. v. Dimensions Health Corporation (Laurel Regional Hospital) ensuring effective communication, first agreement addressing video interpreting services (video relay) and relay interpreting)
  • Access to medical equipment and related services:
    • Valley Radiologists Medical Group
    • Exodus Women’s Center
    • Marin Magnetic Imaging


  • U.S. v. Norwegian Cruise Lines (provision of interpreters to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing)
  • U.S. v. Youth Services International, Inc. (nationwide; provision of interpreters and other auxiliary aids by company that provides services at juvenile justice facilities and in community nonresidential programs; enforcement of agreement)
  • Cineplex Odeon (nationwide; assistive listening systems in movie theaters)
  • Smith Barney (financial statements and correspondence in large print)
  • International Spy Museum (access to exhibitions, public programs, and other offerings for people with hearing, vision, and mobility disabilities)


  • Mandalay Bay Casino Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada (4,752 guest rooms, most with noncomplying doors to guest bathrooms and adjoining rooms; several entertainment assembly areas; counters in stores; two restaurants built with raised dining areas)
  • Arnold and U.S. v. United Artists Theatre Circuit, Inc. (nationwide; new construction, alterations, barrier removal; accessible seating; first theater line-of-sight case)
  • Sunoco, Inc.; and Sunoco, Inc. (R&M) (nationwide; new construction of Optima quick-stop stores with inaccessible pumps, “gashoppers” or outdoor cashier drawers, shelves; barrier removal)
  • Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloons (first DOJ compliance review based on plan reviews; chain, new construction and alterations)
  • Gold Strike Casino Resort, Tunica, Mississippi (1,131 guest rooms, with designated accessible guest rooms having noncompliant showers; casino; restaurants)
  • U.S. v. Giorgio’s (restaurant made less accessible by construction of raised area)
  • Kansas City Downtown Hotel Group (Kansas City Marriott Downtown) (new construction, alterations, barrier removal)
  • In Branson, Missouri: Blue Velvet Theater, Paradise Grill, Magical Palace, White House Theater, Ozark Entertainment, Inc. (Mickey Gilley’s Theatre and Mickey’s Texas Cafe)
  • Angelo Community Hospital, Texas (addition, path of travel; plan-based review)
  • Western Michigan Baseball Stadium (seating, route from locker room to field, accessible locker rooms)


  • Safeway Stores, Inc. (1500 stores nationwide)
  • Motel 6 (600 locations nationwide)
  • NPC International (800 franchised Pizza Hut restaurants in 25 states)
  • Carmike Cinemas (nationwide)
  • Empire State Building (including observation deck)
  • U.S. v. Moyes (barrier removal, services at restaurant)
  • U.S. v. Wynock (Ocean Plaza Hotel) (barrier removal, services)
  • U.S. v. Villas by the Sea (barrier removal at large hotel)
  • U.S. v. Reunion Hotel/Tower Joint Venture (Dallas Hyatt) (including damages for members of convention group denied accessible lodging)
  • Intercontinental Hotel (New York City)
  • Municipal Credit Union (New York City) (failure to install ramp due to city setback requirements for sidewalks)
  • Emerald Lanes (South Carolina bowling alley)
  • Omaha Zoo and Rainforest (several features including walkways connecting levels)
  • Mid-America Festival (facilities, shops, booths, outdoor paths at Renaissance Festival)


  • U.S. v. New Century Travel, Inc. (first DOJ litigation and consent decree concerning curbside bus operators’ bus accessibility and service)
  • Greyhound Lines, Inc. (nationwide; accessibility of buses, barrier removal, policies, service)
  • Arizona Shuttle Service (accessibility of vans in fixed route system)
  • Avis Rent A Car (nationwide; accessibility of airport rental car shuttle)
  • Yellow Cab Drivers Association, Utah (blind individual refused transportation)
  • Limo Economy Cab, Wisconsin (refusal to transport person with wheelchair not on rack, along with person’s companion)

POLICIES (other than education-related)

  • U.S. v. Castle Dental (dentist’s refusal to treat person with AIDS)
  • U.S. v. Morvant (dentist’s refusal to treat person with AIDS)
  • Bourdon v. Croft (doctor’s refusal to treat person who was HIV positive)
  • Sears Modeling Club (refusal to allow child who uses wheelchair to participate)
  • Vasquez Funeral Home, Chicago, IL (imposing higher fees for services for handling bodies of individuals who had AIDS)
  • Applewood Tanning (two blind people denied services)
  • Sunshine Child Center (assistance with leg braces for a child with cerebral palsy)
  • Kindercare (nationwide; refusal to conduct fingerprick blood tests of insulin-dependent diabetic children in order to monitor their blood sugar levels)
  • La Petite Academy (nationwide; administration of “Epipen” to children with severe food allergies and measuring blood glucose levels of children with diabetes)
  • Cumberland Child Care, Georgia (agreed to allow child to bring inhaler for asthma to class, to administer emergency asthma treatment with consent of parents per doctor’s instructions)
  • Sunshine Child Center (assistance with leg braces for a child with cerebral palsy)
  • Marriott (nationwide) (reservations for accessible rooms at Courtyard by Marriott)
  • Gazelle v. Ramada Hotel, Texas (service animals)

Employment under titles I and II – state and local governments


  • U.S. v. City and County of Denver (reassignment of police officers who develop disabilities, including through on-the-job injuries)
  • U.S. v. Mississippi Dep’t of Public Safety (discharge of police recruit with diabetes from training academy, after erratic behavior due to withholding of food despite intense exercise)
  • U.S. v. Baltimore Public School System (unlawful discharge of blind teacher)
  • U.S. v. Calumet City, Illinois (individuals denied employment as firefighters after firefighter pension plan conducted physicals and refused plan membership)
  • Texas Commission for the Blind (accessible formats and equipment for employees with vision impairments)

OTHER EMPLOYMENT ISSUES ADDRESSED BY AGREEMENTS NOT MADE PUBLIC (as is the case with many employment matters that DOJ resolves)

  • Refusal to hire individual with epilepsy for clerical job
  • Relocation of classes for teacher with arthritis
  • Denial of job because of disabilities and medical record
  • Refusal to hire an individual with diabetes as a data librarian
  • Termination of individual with depression who refused to work overtime
  • Rejection of applicant for a firefighter/paramedic position because he used insulin to control his diabetes
  • Termination of employee with severe depression after denial of reasonable accommodation of additional leave without pay that she needed in order to stabilize her condition.
  • State’s automatic exclusion of all police recruits who use hearing aids
  • County’s unnecessary inquiries into the health of employees with disabilities, concerning person with AIDS
  • City police department’s discharge of employee because of hearing impairment
  • Forced administrative leave and termination of employee with macular degeneration and no longer able to drive
  • City policy modified in order to allow return to work with permanent limited duty assignments for officers unable to perform the essential functions of a full duty officer due to an on-the-job injury or illness
  • Accommodations for teacher with mobility impairments, including moving classes to more accessible classroom, making common areas more accessible