Wheel Chair-Bound Angels Fans Bring Class Action Against Angels Baseball LP & City of Anaheim For Disability Access Discrimination

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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.

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.

According to the Complaint, 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 Complaint further states that the Angels employee's only solution was that Mr. Charlebois, a grown man, could be carried to and from a general admission seat. The Complaint also alleges that Defendants have refused to rectify this situation and instead continue to relocate those to inferior sections who chose not to be carried.

The lawsuit, entitled Charlebois v. Angels Baseball LP, City of Anaheim, 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."

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