Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, et al. v. Colorado Rockies Baseball Club, Ltd., Civil Action No. 03-WY-0034-AJ (MJW)
The ADA requires that people who use wheelchairs have access to dispersed seating in sports arenas like Coors Field and that they have a choice of admission prices and lines of sight comparable to those for members of the general public. For baseball fans who do not use wheelchairs, Defendant provides seats behind the dugouts and along the first and third base lines at prices that range from $27 to $38. The only wheelchair accessible seats with similar lines of sight cost approximately $100. Prior to 2001, Defendant provided wheelchair accessible seats behind home plate at prices equivalent to the inaccessible seats behind the dugouts and along the first and third base lines. These seats were the only accessible seats providing a front-row or near-in viewing experience by the infield. Starting in 2001 — in order to create a luxury area called the Coors Clubhouse — Defendant raised the price on the wheelchair accessible seats behind home plate to $100 each and removed some of these seats. This move left no accessible seats in Coors Field that are equivalent in price, lines of sight and overall experience to the many inaccessible seats behind the dugouts and along the first and third base lines.
Plaintiffs filed their complaint in federal court on January 6, 2003. The Rockies filed for partial summary judgment and their motion was denied. Trial was completed April 22, 2004. In August 2004 the parties reached a settlement. CCDC members who wish to learn more about the settlement agreement can contact us.
Under the agreement, five wheelchair accessible and four companion seats will be available at infield box prices in the accessible section behind home plate. These tickets can be purchased on a game by game basis and can be purchased in advance.
The Coors Field trial ended this afternoon. We cross-examined the Rockies’ expert this morning. Carrie Lucas testified in rebuttal afterward and testimony finished. The trial ended with closing arguments. We now wait for a ruling from Judge Johnson. The judge did not want any post-trial briefs, so we are hopeful the ruling will come in the next few weeks.
Today we heard more from a Rockies VP who is in charge of ticketing and sales. We also heard from the director of the actual facility, and from their expert. Their expert will finish his testimony tomorrow. Then any rebuttal witnesses will be heard and the judge will take closing arguments.
Today we rested our case. About half the day was spent hearing the testimony of our expert witness, Jim Terry. Mr. Terry is an architect who testified about technical details of ADA compliance at Coors Field. Afterwards, Carrie Lucas testified about her and her daughter’s experiences at Coors Field, and also about CCDC. We then rested our case. The Rockies called a sports photographer to testify as an expert about sight lines and viewing angles that are best for sports photography. After that, they called another sports photographer who testified about his experience taking photographs at Coors Field. Finally, the day ended with testimony from the head of Rockies ticketing. Her testimony will continue tomorrow.
Today we put on the bulk of our case. We started the morning with opening statements. After opening statements, the judge, all the attorneys and a few of the parties went to Coors Field for a site visit. The Judge got a tour of the ballpark and of all the different views from the different types of seats. That site visit took the remainder of the morning.
After lunch, many of the plaintiffs’ witnesses testified. Jim and Jeremy Hudson, Kyle Stubbs, Evan and Alan Stutman and Liz Miot testified today. The testimony was primarily about people’s experiences with seating and experiences in the ballpark. Jim Hudson testified about the history of negotiations with Coors Field about access (from when the ballpark was under construction). Liz Miot testified about exhibits and statistics about the ballpark.
The case is set for trial April 19-22, 2004 in US District Court at the Alfred J. Arraj Courthouse, 901 19th Street, on the corner of 19th and Champa in Denver. The courtroom is Courtroom 10, on the 8th Floor (we are borrowing Judge Weinshank’s courtroom). Court will start Monday April 19 at 9 am.