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Views Sought in Movie Theatre Wheel Chair Case

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  • hawaiiguy123155
    Views Sought in Movie Theater Wheelchair Case Mon January 12, 2004 11:47 AM ET WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court asked the federal government on
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 16, 2004
      Views Sought in Movie Theater Wheelchair Case
      Mon January 12, 2004 11:47 AM ET

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court asked the federal
      government on Monday for its views on whether the law protecting the
      disabled from discrimination required stadium-style movie theaters to
      give wheelchair users the same views as other patrons.
      The high court sought the views of the Justice Department's solicitor
      general on whether to hear the appeal by Regal Entertainment Group's
      Regal Cinemas.

      A U.S. appeals court ruled the theater chain failed to comply with
      the Americans with Disabilities Act by putting wheelchair patrons in
      the front rows.

      Three disabled, wheelchair-bound women had sued Regal over the
      seating at stadium-style theaters in Oregon.

      Stadium-style theaters, which first opened in 1995, place most seats
      on stepped risers rather than on sloped floors like in older
      theaters. In stadium-style theaters, wheelchair seating is located
      within the first five rows, near the exits.

      A federal judge ruled for Regal and said the law entitled wheelchair
      users only to an unobstructed view of the screen. But the appeals
      court disagreed.

      "Wheelchair-bound movie theater patrons must sit in seats that are
      objectively uncomfortable, requiring them to crane their necks and
      twist their bodies in order to see the screen, while non-disabled
      patrons have a wide range of comfortable viewing locations from which
      to choose," it said.

      The appeals court ruled Regal must provide wheelchair seating
      locations within the range of viewing angles offered to the general
      public.

      Regal appealed to the Supreme Court. It said there have been
      conflicting appeals court rulings on the issue. Regal said the ruling
      in its case means thousands of movie theaters may have to be brought
      into compliance with the law.

      The Justice Department is expected to file its views about the case
      within the next several months.

      © Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.
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