Lucas v. City and County of Denver

Image: photo of an outdoor amphitheater shot from the back row with the audience between the camera and the stage, with the foothills of Colorado in the background.On December 2, 2016, six music fans who use wheelchairs filed a class action lawsuit against the City and County of Denver claiming disability discrimination for failure to make reasonable accommodations to allow people who use wheelchairs to access and enjoy Red Rocks Amphitheatre.   CREEC and co-counsel Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) and Disability Law Colorado (DLC) represent the plaintiffs.

If you are a wheelchair-user and have had problems purchasing tickets to Red Rocks, specifically to the front row, please contact us at info@creeclaw.org.

The only accessible seats at Red Rocks are in the front row or at the very top and back of the theater (Row 70). In fact, of the 9,525 seats at Red Rocks, only 78 seats are accessible to wheelchair users — 40 seats short of what is required by the regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the suit, despite the limited numbers of accessible seats available, Red Rocks and its contractors routinely engage in practices that further decrease the number of seats available for wheelchair users. For example, Red Rocks does little to ensure that tickets for accessible seats are sold or given to people who actually need accessible seating. What’s more, when people who do not need accessible seating end up in the front row and those using wheelchairs ask to be seated in the accessible section, Red Rocks refuses to require that a switch occur even though they could, by law, require it.

Another issue according to the class of wheelchair-using plaintiffs, is that tickets to accessible seating are regularly unavailable within minutes of going on sale and then are only available on the
secondary market. Because many of the accessible seats at Red Rocks are in the front row, they are highly sought-after and typically resell at a significantly increased cost – up to four or five times the face value. In comparison, those who are not competing for the coveted 78 accessible seats, can much more easily buy a ticket to one of the remaining 9,447 seats that are not accessible to wheelchair users. Thus, according to the suit, those who use wheelchairs and wish to attend a concert at Red Rocks are routinely forced to pay a much higher price than other concert-goers who do not use wheelchairs.

The case does not seek damages; only an injunction causing the City to modify its policies to ensure music fans in wheelchairs can enjoy this gorgeous venue on equal terms.

 

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