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Denver Performing Arts Complex

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Citation

Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, et. al., v. City and County of Denver, Colorado, et. al., 06-cv-00865-LTB(bnb)

Issues

CCDC and several members filed a lawsuit to rectify accessibility problems at the Denver Performing Arts Complex that is owned by the City and County of Denver, as well as the Denver Center for Performing Arts, Colorado Symphony, Colorado Ballet and Opera Colorado who also produce events at the Complex.

The Ellie, Denver’s new opera house opened with several accessibility problems. One level of seating is accessible only by a platform lift rather than a ramp or elevator. The City requires people who use wheelchairs to cram their wheelchairs into a tiny, enclosed lift that barely has room for an individual using a wheelchair. Non-disabled patrons enter the orchestra level via lavish stair cases with ornate finishes. People who use wheelchairs must hope they can find the isolated alcove where the tiny lift is located and take the lengthy, claustrophobic trip to the orchestra. Additionally, all of the wheelchair accessible seats in the lower orchestra level are on an incline.

Throughout the opera house, wheelchair accessible seating locations are filled with “removable” seats that are very difficult and time-consuming to remove. Participants on the ABLE tour were told wheelchair users must purchase tickets at least 48 hours in advance, afterwards, the “removable” seats cannot be removed. While able-bodied Ballet and Opera lovers can purchase tickets on the day of the performance (sometimes at a discount) wheelchair users are unable to do so. Wheelchair users similarly will be unable to take advantage of a last minute gift of a ticket from a friend who is unable to use their ticket.

In addition to the problems at the Ellie, other DPAC venues including, but not limited to the Buell Theater, Boettcher Auditorium and common areas have access problems. DCPA patrons cannot purchase wheelchair accessible seats through the website. And the DCPA, Opera Colorado, Colorado Ballet and Colorado Symphony websites are not accessible to individuals who are blind and others who utilize screen reader technology.

Status

On February 23, 2009, federal district court judge Marcia Krieger ruled at the Final Fairness Hearing granted the Joint Motion for Order for Final Fairness of Class Action Settlement (see settlement agreement below) and approved the Unopposed Motion for Attorneys Fees and Costs. The City and County of Denver has made the changes to the Opera House required by the agreement. Improvements to wheelchair seating, improvements to the wheelchair lifts, new accessible tables in the Kevin Taylor Restaurant and access improvements to the restrooms have been accomplished.

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Important Notice
CCDC’s employees and/or volunteers are NOT acting as your attorney. Responses you receive via electronic mail, phone, or in any other manner DO NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), or any employee of, or other person associated with, CCDC. The only way an attorney-client relationship is established is if you have a signed retainer agreement with one of the CCDC Legal Program attorneys.

Information received from CCDC’s employees or volunteers, or from this site, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. www.ccdconline.org DOES NOT provide any legal advice, and you should consult with your own lawyer for legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation.

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