The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination because of disability in employment, communication, transportation, access to government programs and services, and public accommodations. Recently, federal prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit against the Chicago Cubs for violating these laws.
The U.S. attorneys claim that the Cubs’ renovated stadium violated the ADA as the alleged improvements removed wheelchair seating and failed to include other accessible features required by ADA law. During the renovation, the suit alleges the team moved the wheelchair seating to the very back of the stadium and that the seats have an obstructed view because of drink rails. According to the lawsuit, the work “enhanced the game day experience for many fans, particularly those able to take advantage of premium clubs and other luxury accommodations, the same cannot be said for fans with disabilities.”
However, the Cubs maintain that they improved the stadium for all people, including disabled fans. They claim that the renovations were designed to enhance Wrigley Field’s overall accessibility by:
- creating 50% more wheelchair seating options,
- adding more elevators,
- and creating a superior auditory assistance program.
If there is a lack of accessibility, the Cubs will not only have to make changes to the stadium, which will be expensive, but they will also face hefty damages. Businesses that violate ADA regulations can face fines of up to $75,000 for first-time offenses and $150,000 for subsequent offenses.
How Are Stadiums Supposed to Comply with the ADA?
In compliance with the ADA, new stadiums are legally required to have wheelchair-accessible seating, which means that the wheelchair seat is:
- Spread throughout the stadium
- Available in every section and at all price points
- Accessible via a ramp or elevator from the parking lot, restroom, concessions, etc.
- Able to have companion seats available next to the wheelchair seat
- Able to allow the seat occupant to have a similar line of sight as those not in wheelchair seating and that allows for the occupant to have a line of sight to the events even if people stand
What Buildings or Places Are Subject to the ADA?
Under Title III of the ADA, public buildings and spaces are prohibited from discriminating based on disability and should comply with ADA standards. New constructions of public spaces as well as commercial facilities should also be accessible. Public accommodations can include but are not limited to:
- Movie theaters
- Recreational facilities
- Doctor’s offices
- Other businesses open to the public
Contact Our Firm
At the Law Office of Steven Fine, our attorney is committed to helping clients fight against violations of their civil rights. Our firm handles a wide variety of civil rights violations cases, and we can help you understand your legal rights and options if your rights were violated because of:
- Excessive force/police brutality
- False Arrests
- Unfair compensation
- Workplace retaliation
- Sexual harassment
- Your nation of origin or race
To learn more about how we can help you or schedule a case consultation, complete our online contact form or reach out to us via phone (312) 436-0638.