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TOPIC: AMC Stadium Seating Suit

AMC Stadium Seating Suit 12 Jan 2006 00:06 #28996

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - AMC Entertainment Inc., the nation's second-largest movie theater chain, was ordered to upgrade seating for patrons in wheelchairs at 1,200 of its stadium-style movie auditoriums and pay $300,000 in penalties and civil damages to settle a U.S. lawsuit.

Justice Department officials said Wednesday the order settles its 1999 lawsuit against the company claiming AMC violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because it doesn't provide comparable seating for people in wheelchairs.

The Kansas City-based company also must ensure that all theaters built over the next five years comply with requirements set out Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper in Los Angeles.

The stadium-style seating now dominating movie theaters gives everyone unobstructed views of the screen. But critics say most wheelchair spaces are at the base of the stadium tiers, forcing those patrons to crane their necks to see the movie.

As part of the order, privately held AMC, which operates more than 3,300 screens, must build ramps in more than 360 theaters, providing wheelchair spaces on higher seating tiers. The company also must pay $200,000 to theatergoers who originally complained to the Justice Department about the seating arrangements and $100,000 in fines.

"Providing the same moviegoing experience for individuals in wheelchairs that other patrons enjoy delivers on the promise of the ADA," Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim said in a release. "These improvements will make the goals of the ADA a reality for thousands of Americans who want to enjoy this popular form of entertainment."

A spokeswoman for AMC said the company couldn't comment on the case because it was still active litigation.

As part of her decision Tuesday, Cooper dismissed arguments from AMC that the proposed solution was more extensive than what the government required from AMC's competitors.

The Justice Department last summer settled similar lawsuits against industry leader Regal Entertainment Group (RGC), with that company agreeing to upgrade 1,000 of its 6,000 auditoriums, expected to cost $15 million over the next five years. Cinemark USA and National Amusements Inc. also resolved lawsuits against them recently, also agreeing to renovate stadium-style auditoriums.

The National Association of Theater Owners has criticized the Justice Department, saying it never gave theater companies guidelines for building stadium-style auditoriums other than to say wheelchair-bound patrons should have unobstructed views.



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Re: AMC Stadium Seating Suit 12 Jan 2006 05:05 #28997

In reading this, that old Jerry Lewis movie by the title "Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River" comes to mind, as in, maybe somebody should rethink ways in which handicapped people can have greater mobility. I mean, why sue theater operators and chains? Why not sue wheelchair manufacturers instead for failing to design something much more versatile? How come they get off so easy? For would it be that difficult to design a wheelchair that would be such that it would be quite easy for the person sitting in it to move from that into a regular theater seat, or to navigate around in a stadium seating type set-up?
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Re: AMC Stadium Seating Suit 12 Jan 2006 06:17 #28998

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It's ironic that Steve should mention a wheelchair that is more serviceable in a theatre, since the fellow who invented the "Segway" --that upright scooter that looks something like an old fashioned manual lawnmower-- also invented a computerized and motorized wheelchair that will climb steps and elevate itself, but the cost is reportedly beyond most anyone's reach. Maybe a few theatres will provide such for their wheelchair-bound patrons? Jim
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: AMC Stadium Seating Suit 12 Jan 2006 11:34 #28999

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Interesting idea. I have family members in the medical field and asked them. Since they deal with people in wheelchairs everyday. They said things have been looked at. But nothing practical, reliable and affordable has ever been designed. Basicly the reasons a person may be in a wheelchair can vary widely. And each ones mobility capabilities can differ. Some have use of arms and can operate their chair with their arms. Others can't and need to have an electric wheelchair with a joystick that only requires finger mobility. Plus many more variations. So it was decided that facility access was the best to serve most. Ie: Curb cuts, ramps, automatic doors, larger doors and space in handicapped restrooms, lowered drinking fountains, service counters etc.

I remember seeing those cars on tv years ago that would turn and slip you directly into a street parking space. So my wife could avoid parallel parking which she hates.
Still haven't seen them on the market.



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Re: AMC Stadium Seating Suit 13 Jan 2006 07:00 #29000

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I remember seeing those cars on tv years ago that would turn and slip you directly into a street parking space. So my wife could avoid parallel parking which she hates.
Still haven't seen them on the market.


Im still waiting for those cars too. I hate paralell parking


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Re: AMC Stadium Seating Suit 15 Jan 2006 01:18 #29001

My feeling is that with so much being put on the theaters -- the outlook being, "This is your responsibility to resolve, theater operators" -- that somebody somewhere in all this is getting off real easy. And it looks to me to be the medical establishment itself. Rather than their actually healing people, their outlook seems to be to re-alter the whole world instead so that those who are ill no longer have anything to remind them of their illness, and, likewise, the reality that the medical establishment abandoned its responsibility years ago but continues getting paid handsomely just for looking the part nevertheless. And making money in such excess in the process that it can lobby the government to redirect all lawsuits that should be against it against others, such as theater operators, instead. In terms of assisting the handicapped, totally altering theaters should be the last resort. The first resort should be to really seriously try to find actual cures for the handicapped. And when that option is totally exhausted, creating better wheelchairs, prosthetic devices and so on should be the next option if the first one fails, that is, following an actual serious effort. Trouble is, this would mean that those who earn handsome livings in the medical profession would actually have to work for it rather than just putting on a good show in exchange for it. For acting belongs in the movies shown in theaters, not in the hospitals. And regarding the plight of being handicapped, the disabled should be able to look to the hospitals for resolving this. But if the hospitals no longer can or are unwilling to do this, maybe it's time to put brightly lit neon marquees over the hospitals' entryways and box offices selling tickets at their entrance doors.
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Re: AMC Stadium Seating Suit 16 Jan 2006 05:40 #29002

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I think that if the government approved the cinema design without wheel chair access then it should not be binding on any cinema if the plans were already approved.
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Re: AMC Stadium Seating Suit 16 Jan 2006 10:27 #29003

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Government does not even get it right. Had a lot of local govt buildings that had to start over or correct issues on their new buildings.

I remember NATO fighting this ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act when it came into law in the early 90's. In the later 90's when stadium seating started to show up. And I got my first chance to see one. I sure was scratching my head wondering how this complied with equal access seating. By placing all handicapped seating up front. Since we had removed seats in our sloped floor theatres back and middle to comply.

Most of these suits have been running through the courts since the late 90's. And the settlements / agreements are now being reached. Guess it took that long for all the "experts" to testify and depose. At least now anyone designing a theatre will have all the "correct" rules for their designer to use.

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Re: AMC Stadium Seating Suit 16 Jan 2006 23:50 #29004

Needless to say, it's a shame the handicapped are caught in the middle in all this. And when they can't see a movie the way others do they're told it's all the theaters' fault. But the reality is the theater designers can only do so much before the theater-going experience is ruined for everybody.

And it's precisely there that the government is messing up big time. For what's to be done next? A full reconstruction of Pikes Peak so that the wheelchair bound can get to the top of it and sueing God in the process?

Now my own solution is to evolve the movie theater away from stadium style seating and to raise the screen instead to insure that everyone has an unobstructed view. For theater patrons should be looking up towards the screen anyway, rather than down towards as it, as it is with stadium style seating. Stadium style seating is fine for live sports events when you want to observe the event from a higher angle, and also when it comes to live performances. As in, ahem, that's why they call it "stadium style seating." But when it comes to movies you want to look up, or at least I do. Otherwise, what really is the benefit of the big screen? A point which stadium style seating totally seems to miss.

And which, I ask you, would be easier? To transform stadium style seating so that those who in wheelchairs can derive full benefit from it whatever way they wish? That is, so they can maneuver around it to the full extent that anyone else can? Or, to redesign wheelchairs in such way so that those seated in them can recline to whatever degree necessary so that they can see the screen in full without straining their neck in any way?
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Re: AMC Stadium Seating Suit 03 Feb 2006 08:52 #29005

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Here's a link to a story on the wheelchair invented by Dean Kamen: http://black.csl.uiuc.edu/~chadjic/itr/related_sites/related_sites2.html

The Parkway Theatre, an idea whose time has come. Help Make it happen!
The Parkway Theatre, an idea whose time has come. Help Make it happen!
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