Originally posted 2:45, June 15. Updated 4:59 p.m. with non-comment comments from the city and the Angels. See bottom of post.
J. Paul Charlebois says that he wanted to watch a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game from the Anaheim stadium's club level, which is the swanky tier with box seats and waiter service. But the wheelchair-bound baseball fan says that when he asked for wheelchair accessible seating, he was told there were only two such seats on the entire level–and they were already taken.
According to the law office that's representing him, the only solution that Angels employees had for Charlebois was to offer to carry him to and from a general-admission seat.
Today, J. Paul Charlebois, a baseball fan who is confined to a
wheelchair, filed a Class Action Lawsuit in the United States District Court
of the Central District of California against Angels Baseball LP and the
City of Anaheim. Mr. Charlebois alleges that the Stadium fails to provide
basic accommodations to disabled persons in its premier Club Level, the only
section that includes amenities such as in-seat waiter and waitress food and
beverage services. Remarkably, in the Club Level consisting of thousands
of seats and luxury boxes, there are only two wheelchair accessible seats on
the entire level.
In July 2009, when Mr. Charlebois attempted to access his seat in the
Club Level section, he was informed that there were no available wheelchair
accessible seats in the entire section, as the only two seats were already
taken. The Angels employee's only solution was that Mr. Charlebois, a grown
man, could be carried to and from a general admission seat. Defendants have
refused to rectify this situation and instead continue to relocate those to
inferior sections who chose not to be carried.
The lawsuit, Case No. CV10853-AG(ANX), alleges that Angels Baseball and
the City of Anaheim, who invested at least $30 million in renovating the
Stadium in 1998-1999, fail to provide adequate wheelchair accessible seating
on the Club Level, discriminate against individuals on the basis of their
disability, fail to comply with facilities requirements contingent upon
receiving state funding, and maintain unfair business practices in violation
of the Americans with Disabilities Act, California Civil Rights laws, and
California's Business & Professions Code. The Action seeks certification of
a plaintiff class of wheelchair bound baseball fans and an order from the
Court to compel Defendants to both provide sufficient wheelchair accessible
seating and to better train its staff.
The lawsuit states, “By bringing this action for injunctive and
declaratory relief, Plaintiff seeks justice for himself and other wheel
chair bound patrons of Angels Stadium by requiring Angeles Baseball and the
City of Anaheim to comply with federal and California law requiring equal
access for individuals with disabilities.”
V. James DeSimone of Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman, LLP,
the attorneys representing Mr. Charlebois stated: “It is outrageous that
Angels Stadium, which underwent a costly renovation in 1999, deliberately
ignored its obligation to wheelchair bound patrons by limiting them to a
quota of two accessible seats in the only area of the Stadium that provides
waiter and waitress services.”