Civil rights

Chicago White Sox Accused of Discrimination in ADA Lawsuit

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Chicago White Sox Accused of Discrimination in ADA Lawsuit

Ralph Yaniz and Douglas McCormick, two baseball enthusiasts, have found themselves in a legal battle with the Chicago White Sox, Ltd., alleging discriminatory practices in the sale of accessible seating season tickets. The lawsuit, filed on September 13, 2023, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, accuses the White Sox of violating Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability in the activities of places of public accommodations, which includes sports stadiums. The law mandates that individuals with disabilities should be given an equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations offered.

Yaniz and McCormick, both of whom qualify for wheelchair-accessible seating, claim that the White Sox have not adhered to these rules. According to the lawsuit, "The White Sox discriminate against individuals with disabilities in the sale of tickets for accessible seats." The plaintiffs allege that the team refuses to sell accessible seat season tickets on their website, forcing individuals with disabilities to call to make a purchase. When they do call, the seats available to disabled individuals are significantly fewer than those available on the website. 

This, they argue, is a clear violation of the ADA, which stipulates that businesses must make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when necessary to afford goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities. By not offering accessible seat season tickets online, the White Sox allegedly failed to make these necessary modifications.

Further, the plaintiffs claim that the White Sox have discriminatory restrictions on the website sale of accessible single-game tickets. The team allegedly offers only a tiny percentage of accessible seats and restricts them to specific areas or games. The lawsuit states, "Many accessible seats remain empty during games, including seats along the first and third base lines."

In terms of damages, Yaniz and McCormick are not seeking monetary compensation. Instead, they are asking for declaratory and injunctive relief, requiring the White Sox to offer accessible seats for sale on their website and through all other methods of ticket purchase. They believe this will ensure that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy America's favorite pastime.

The lawsuit defines the class as all individuals who qualify for wheelchair-accessible seating and seek to attend a White Sox home game by purchasing season tickets or single-game tickets on the White Sox website. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, the decision could have far-reaching implications for other sports teams and venues, potentially leading to more inclusive ticketing practices.

Case Facts

  • Status:
    Lawsuit Filed
  • Case Number:
    1:23-cv-10714
  • Filing Date:
    September 13, 2023
  • Jurisdiction:
    U.S. District Courts
  • State:
    Illinois
  • Court:
    Illinois Northern District
  • Plaintiff:
    Douglas McCormick; Ralph Yaniz
  • Defendant:
    Chicago White Sox, Ltd.
  • Plaintiff Firm:
    Access Living; Much Shelist, P.C.
  • Defendant Firm:
  • Claims Administrator:
Contributors
Kevin Salzman, Esq.
Kevin Salzman, Esq.
Reporter and Licensed Attorney
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