Friday, September 29, 2006

C.D. Cal.: No Line of Sight Over Standing Spectators Required

New on Westlaw: Miller v. California Speedway Corp., 2006 WL 2742067 (C.D. Cal., Sept. 8, 2006). In this case, the court granted summary judgment to the defendant, which operates a speedway, opened in 1997, that (at least according to the plaintiff) does not provide wheelchair users with seating areas that had a line of sight to the race when people in front of them stand. The new version of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) specifically requires that, in assembly areas where spectators are expected to stand, wheelchair seating areas provide a line of sight over standing spectators. But the ADAAG in effect at the time the speedway was built was less pellucid on the point; the ADAAG at the time required "lines of sight comparable to those for members of the general public." Courts have disagreed about whether that language requires wheelchair users to have a line of sight over standing spectators. The D.C. Circuit, in a case I argued back in the day, held that it does; the Third Circuit, in an opinion written by then-Judge Alito, held that it does not. Here, the district court agreed with the Third Circuit. I wouldn't be shocked if this gets reversed on appeal.


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