22-Sep-19 – A wheelchair user has won the chance to continue his lawsuit against the Chicago Cubs over his claims Wrigley Field does not have enough seating for fans with disabilities.
On August 30, United States District Judge Jorge Alonso refused the Cubs’ request to dismiss the legal action brought by David Cerda that accuses the Cubs of not providing enough seating for wheelchair users at their home park at Clark & Addison.
While granting the Cubs’ contention the law does not require them to “place ADA seats in the front row” or in every spot a wheelchair user may wish to sit to take in a game, Judge Alonso said the Cubs may not have enough accessible seating to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the federal Rehabilitation Act.
“The Cubs contend that Cerda’s calculation...is incorrect because the renovations [to Wrigley Field] are still ongoing. But in making this contention, the Cubs do not say what the number should be and whether the Cubs have satisfied this number.”
The Cubs and Cerda have gone back and forth in court since Cerda filed his complaint in December 2017. Cerda, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and requires a wheelchair for mobility, said the right field seating area he formerly used became a specially ticketed area with a bar following renovations completed to Wrigley’s bleachers.
While wheelchair areas remain in the lower box portion of Wrigley’s stadium bowl, Cerda asserted the wheelchair accessible seats were several rows farther from the field of play than they had been in previous years, making it more difficult to watch the game, particularly when other fans stood.
Cerda claims the ADA requires the Cubs to offer 217 accessible seats but he says they only offered 42 such seats during the 2018 season.
He also argued the Cubs discriminated against him by offering no accessible seating in Wrigley’s 1914 American Airlines Club luxury seating area behind and around home plate, even though Cerda did not place his name on a lengthy waiting list to purchase seats in that zone.
The Cubs responded by asking the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, asserting Cerda lacked standing because he was never actually harmed by the alleged lack of accessible seating in the locations he wished to sit. They argued renovations at Wrigley Field that began in 2014 have continued each year since, so Cerda shouldn’t be allowed to sue.