• Loading stock data...
Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Join us this September for Tuned In Request to Attend

With Wrigley Field Lawsuit, Cubs Are Latest Team to Face ADA Complaints

  • 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 are the latest pro team to face a lawsuit over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois filed the lawsuit in federal court in Chicago on Thursday over renovations to Wrigley Field as part of the multi-year 1060 Project. 

The lawsuit alleged the Cubs’ $550 million in renovations “removed the best wheelchair seating in the stadium” and many seating areas “do not have adequate sightlines over standing spectators.”

The team allegedly failed to include accessibility in new premium clubs, and the seating is in the last row of the bleachers, blocked by drink rails or standing fans.

At least five other teams in the four major U.S. sports have faced ADA-related lawsuits since 2016. 

“It’s just stunning to me that after all these high-profile cases and it being more than 30 years since the ADA was signed, that you still have places just being utterly clueless,” disability rights attorney Amy Robertson told Front Office Sports.

“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.”

  • The ADA, signed into law in 1990, set aside some safe harbor provisions for existing buildings. 
  • All sports venues like Wrigley Field — the second-oldest ballpark in the majors that opened in 1914 — still had to comply with parking, bathroom and entrance/exit standards. 
  • But new construction — and any venue built after 1990 — must follow all accessibility requirements of the ADA. Those standards were updated in 2010. 

The Cubs said in a statement that they were “disappointed” by the lawsuit and the team added it “fully cooperated” with the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s investigation that dates back to November 2019. 

“The renovation of Wrigley Field greatly increased accessibility of the ballpark and was completed in accordance with applicable law and historic preservation standards consistent with the ballpark’s designation as a National and City of Chicago landmark,” the Cubs’ statement continued. 

The Cubs have company among teams subjected to ADA lawsuits in recent years.. 

Abdul Nevarez, who lost his right leg and severely injured the other leg along with his left arm in a motorcycle accident, was the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the San Francisco 49ers, the City of Santa Clara, and the Santa Clara Stadium Authority over wheelchair access at Levi Stadium.

The lawsuit, filed in 2016, was settled in 2020 for $24 million, a record settlement for an ADA case. The 49ers were able to recoup $6 million from Turner Construction Co. and Devcon, construction companies who sued by the 49ers.

In 2018, a Kroenke Sports and Entertainment subsidiary agreed to a settlement in a class-action lawsuit brought over lack of captioning on the video boards at Ball Arena, the home of the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets. Robertson was the plaintiff’s lawyer in that case.

The Seattle Mariners were sued in 2018 over sightline allegations similar to the Cubs’ lawsuit. While a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled that decision last year. The case remains active. 

The Baltimore Orioles were sued in 2018 by three wheelchair users over accessibility issues at Camden Yards. 

Multiple New Orleans Saints fans have sued over the $450 million renovation of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome over concerns the project would hinder access.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Billions in Public Funds Are Pouring Into NFL Venues. More Is Expected

Jacksonville and Charlotte are paying big to keep their NFL teams happy.

Major Selling Point for Cities Pushing New Stadium Projects: Big Events

Several jurisdictions have mentioned events such as the Super Bowl as part of the impetus to build or renovate stadiums.

Back in the ’Burbs? Bears Weighing Renewed Stadium Interest from Cities

Two suburban jurisdictions renew their efforts to land the Bears, despite the team’s downtown stadium plans.
May 10, 2024; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Williams during a press conference before Chicago Bears rookie minicamp at Halas Hall.

Caleb Williams Launches Investment Firm Before Signing a Bears Contract

Williams announced 888 Midas for private equity, VC, and real estate deals.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

A First Hand Report of the Copa America Chaos


Featured Today

Jan 7, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Nissan Stadium.
July 14, 2024

Without Hard-Line Bans, Pro Athletes and Personnel Will Keep Betting on Sports

Penalties often aren’t stringent or consistent enough to deter banned behavior.
Oct 2, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goddell speaks during the Don Shula Celebration of Life at Hard Rock Stadium.
July 13, 2024

The NFL Is Confident It Can Overturn the Sunday Ticket Verdict

The league may have good reason to believe it can win.
July 8, 2024

NFLPA Report Cards Have Become the ‘Talk of the Locker Room’ Across..

NFLPA report cards have become the ‘talk of the locker room.’
The Mississippi Department of Human Services on Monday sued retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre along with several other people and businesses to try to recover millions of misspent welfare dollars that were intended to help some of the poorest people in the U.S.

Judge in Mississippi Welfare Case Boots Brett Favre’s Lead Lawyer

The judge wrote he had a ‘pattern and practice of delicate deception.’
July 11, 2024

Criminal Charges Mean No Pay for Wander Franco

Franco had been receiving half of his $2 million base salary.
July 11, 2024

Teenage Sprinting Prodigy Sues Gatorade After Positive Test

Issam Asinga alleges Gatorade gave him contaminated gummies.

TopSpin 2K25 Brings the Legends of Tennis to Your Living Room

2K sports is reviving a classic with TopSpin 2K25.
Stadium with NFL logo at the mid-field line
July 10, 2024

‘Nonsensical’: NFL Blasts Massive Jury Award in Latest Sunday Ticket Case Filings

The league asked for a new trial and called the damages ‘indefensible.’
July 9, 2024

$2 Million of Memorabilia Stolen in Dallas Baseball Card Heist

The thieves pulled off a sophisticated heist at the Dallas Card Show.
Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre watches from a suite in the third quarter of Super Bowl 56 between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022. The Rams came back in the final minutes of the game to win 23-20 on their home field. Super Bowl 56 Cincinnati Bengals Vs La Rams
July 9, 2024

‘Powerless’ Brett Favre Attempts to Revive Lawsuit Against Shannon Sharpe

Attorney argued Sharpe’s comment that Favre ‘stole’ welfare dollars isn’t protected speech.
July 2, 2024

Nev. Court Again Rules Gruden Suit Should Be Shunted To Secretive NFL Arbitration

Gruden says the NFL leaked emails to oust him as Raiders coach.