BOSTON, Dec. 18--The U.S. attorney for Massachusetts sued two U.S. movie chains today, saying their theaters with stadium-style seating discriminate against people with disabilities.
U.S. Attorney Donald Stern accused National Amusements Inc. and Hoyts Cinemas Corp. of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and relegating [disabled] people to inferior movie sears, according to separate lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Boston.
As a result, Stern said access to better seats is denied to anyone with a disability or who is too frail to climb stairs.
Combined, the movie chains operation more than 40 movie theaters throughout the United States with stadium seating, Stern said.
"I don't think it reflects well on corporate America that these [stadium-style theaters] are being built," Stern said at a news conference.
With seats built on a series of steep risers, the theaters provide a clear line of sight to the screen but make it difficult for people who use wheelchairs or have other disabilities to find good sears, Stern said.
People in wheelchairs, for example, are relegated to seats in the very front or very back of the theater.
"That's the very, very last place people want to see a movie," Stern said.
Stern's suits seek court orders to require Hoyts and National Amusements to design, construct and operate their theaters so that they comply with all ADA requirements.
© The Washington Post