Denver will pay $47,950.90 to settle a discrimination claim that claimed wheelchair-accessible seating at the Red Rocks Amphitheater was more expensive than non-accessible seating at the city-owned landmark.
Amy Fink, a spectator who, after six years of cancer treatment, uses a wheelchair, first complained to the US Department of Justice after the cost of her ticket for accessible seats was higher than the other tickets.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, venues are not allowed to charge higher prices for wheelchair accessible seating. Red Rocks has 121 accessible seats for their events, all of which are located in the front or back row high up in the open-air amphitheater built into a rock formation near Morrison. Venues like Red Rocks that cannot physically provide accessible seating in all parts of the theater must price tickets as if the seats were allocated proportionally.
The Department of Justice found that more than 10% of people who purchased wheelchair accessible seats were charged more than they should have been under ADA regulations, sometimes paying $130 more per ticket for their seats, Assistant U.S. Attorney Zeyen Wu said in a video news release.
Refunds will be issued to approximately 1,817 people who attended 178 events at Red Rocks.
Concert promoters Live Nation, AEG and PBS12 also paid a civil fine.
Kevin Williams, director of the Cross-Disability Coalition’s legal program, said the advocacy organization sued Denver in 2017 to stop resellers from buying Red Rocks tickets by listing the accessible seats needed and then reselling them. tickets at exorbitant prices. The case was settled about a year later. “It was really complicated, because unfortunately it’s hard to stop people enjoying it,” Williams said. “What happened was someone in a wheelchair was showing up to a concert, and the whole front row wheelchair area is occupied by people who didn’t. [use a wheelchair].”