NEW YORK — Leading multiplex operator AMC Entertainment is set to appeal a U.S. District Court ruling that the exhib violates the Americans With Disabilities Act by providing wheelchair seating in awkward locations.
In a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission last Wednesday, the second-largest U.S. exhib disclosed it had lost a three-year case over its stadium-seating configuration. Suit, brought by the Justice Dept., argued that wheelchair customers were confined to front floor-level seats where they have to crane their necks. Los Angeles District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper was the first to rule against an exhib in a stadium-seating case.
Some 67% of AMC’s 3,558 U.S. screens are located in megaplex theaters.
AMC would be obliged to provide disabled patrons the same line of sight as non-disabled customers. Company said it has not yet determined the impact of the ruling, since the court’s decision did not specify changes that would be required in its existing facilities.
The 1990 ADA requires all post-1993 buildings to be accessible to disabled individuals. Stadium seating, increasingly the industry standard, utilizes stairs between rows rather than sloped floors.