The Seattle Mariners baseball team and its stadium operator may have failed to closely follow the federal guidelines for spectators using wheelchairs under the 1991 Disability Act, a federal appeals court said Wednesday when it overturned a lower court ruling.
The plaintiff alleges in litigation filed in the U.S. District Court in Seattle that spectators using wheelchairs at T-Mobile Park, where the sailors play, had insufficient lines of sight under the ADA, set forth in the Department of Justice's guidelines for accessible stadiums in 1996, according to the judgment of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco Clark Landis et al. v. Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District et al. in front of those in wheelchairs.
The district court did not apply the standard correctly to Accessible arenas "because it only analyzed the requirement that a person using a wheelchair must be able to see the playing surface between the heads and over the shoulders of the people standing in line directly in front", it said.
The lower court erred "by not analyzing the additional requirement that a person using a wheelchair must be able to see the playing surface over the person's heads are two rows in front of them", the judgment stated.
The judgment concludes: "We do not express an opinion at this stage on the ultimate question ̵1; whether the stadium's sightings for spectators using wh eel chairs are sufficient to satisfy the ADA, "it said.
Conrad Reynoldson, founder and attorney general of the Seattle-based Washington Civil & Disability Advocate, a Seattle-based disability and civic nonprofit organization, which was one of the plaintiffs' lawyers, said in a statement, "We are pleased with the verdict of the ninth district. Everyone deserves an accessible and inclusive evelse.
"Baseball fans with disabilities simply want a comparable picture of the game when they go out to enjoy America's pastime. We are hopeful that this decision will lead to positive changes in the future.
The defendants' lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.