A lawsuit filed against the Seattle Mariners has claimed that the Major League Baseball team’s Safeco Field ballpark provides a “second-class” experience for fans who use wheelchairs.
The suit has also been filed against the public facilities district that owns Safeco Field, according to the Seattle Times newspaper. The suit has been filed by a non-profit disability-rights law firm, Washington Civil and Disability Advocate.
The suit claims that Safeco Field violates state and federal law – including the Americans with Disabilities Act – because wheelchair-accessible seats are too far from the field or have obstructed views.
Washington Civil and Disability Advocate is representing four wheelchair users who have attended games at Safeco Field this year.
According to the Times, Conrad Reynoldson, an attorney with the firm, said that wheelchair users were made to “feel like second-class fans because they can’t have the same experience of being in the front row where they can hear the players talking, can see the action. It’s a completely different experience. They just want to feel like they’re given the same opportunity to enjoy the game like anybody else.”
Reynoldson said that the problems facing wheelchair users at Safeco Field include small seats, food service counters being too high, line areas being too narrow and hazardous gaps in the floor. The suit has been filed after the team last year announced plans to address such issues.
In an email to the Times, the Mariners’ vice-president of communications, Tim Hevly, said: “The Mariners are committed to ensuring an accessible ballpark for all of our fans.”