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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Cubs Latest Team Sued for Alleged Disability Law Violations

  • At least five other pro teams have been sued over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act since 2016.
  • The Department of Justice began investigating access issues at Wrigley Field in 2019.
Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs became at least the sixth pro team among the four major sports to face a lawsuit over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois filed a lawsuit in a Chicago federal court that alleged the Cubs “removed the best wheelchair seating in the stadium” and that many seating areas “do not have adequate sightlines” after a $550 million renovation project.

  • The ADA — landmark civil rights legislation signed into law in 1990 — laid out protections for people with disabilities.
  • Existing sports venues like Wrigley Field — the second-oldest ballpark in the majors (opened 1914) — had to comply with parking, bathroom and entrance/exit standards.
  • New construction — and any venue built after 1990 — must follow all accessibility requirements of the ADA, as updated in 2010. 

The Cubs said in a statement that they were “disappointed” by the lawsuit, adding that they “fully cooperated” with the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s investigation.

Other ADA Issues

The San Francisco 49ers were among the defendants in a 2016 lawsuit that was settled for $24 million in 2020. Five other organizations — Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets), the Seattle Mariners, the Baltimore Orioles, and the New Orleans Saints — have faced ADA legal challenges in the years since.

“I don’t know why there are all these problems. I think if a bunch of lawyers can read the code, architects should be able to as well,” disability rights attorney Amy Robertson said.

Editor’s note: Please click here to read more on this story. 

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