49ers agree to settle mobility disability case for $24 million

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The 49ers’ Twitter feed included an unusual message on Thursday.

Information about the Class Action Settlement Involving Access to Levi’s® Stadium for Persons with Mobility Disabilities,” declared the tweet. The link leads to a formal notice of the resolution of a class action alleging that the 49ers and other “discriminated against individuals with mobility disabilities and their companions by denying them full and equal access to Levi’s Stadium due to access barriers at the Stadium, its parking lots, the pedestrian right of way connecting the parking lots to the Stadium, and in the services and amenities offered at the Stadium.”

More specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants “violated state and federal disability access laws by failing to make Levi’s Stadium, the parking lots, pedestrian right of way, and shuttles that serve it, as well as the ticketing and other services Defendants provide to the public, readily accessible to individuals with mobility disabilities and their nondisabled companions.” The plaintiffs contend that “individuals with mobility disabilities (specifically those individuals who use wheelchairs, scooters, or other mobility aids for mobility) and their nondisabled companions have been discriminated against because they have been denied full and equal access to Levi’s Stadium and related facilities, services, amenities, and privileges.”

The 49ers and all other defendants maintain that they have complied with the law, and that no discrimination has occurred. The settlement creates a $24 million fund for damages to those who were impacted by allegedly discriminatory practices. The settlement also “requires that Defendants make various modifications to Levi’s Stadium, its main parking lot, and the pedestrian right of way connecting the parking lots to the Stadium in order to provide persons with mobility disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, scooters, canes, walkers and other mobility aids, with improved access to the Stadium and its services and amenities.”

Claim forms must be submitted by potential class members by June 28. Alternatively, individuals who wish to take action on their own must opt out by June 28. If potential claimants do nothing, they get nothing and they will lose their right to pursue relief.

The minimum recovery per individual with an approved claim will be $4,000.

Class actions continue to provide a viable mechanism for addressing alleged violations of the law that, standing alone, may not justify pursuing legal relief. The ability to lump many claims together creates a financial incentive for lawyers to fight for a broader public good.

And the incentive is substantial. In this case, the lawyers will receive more than $13.4 million, if the settlement is approved.

13 responses to “49ers agree to settle mobility disability case for $24 million

  1. “In this case, the lawyers will receive more than $13.4 million, if the settlement is approved.”

    The Real reason there was a lawsuit

  2. You got to love California. The minimum settlement is 4K. How much does the lawyers walk away with. No pun intended.

  3. “13.4 million of the potential 24 million is going to the lawyers”… makes all the sense in the world. I’ve been to the stadium in Santa Clara, it’s a concrete monolith with parking sprinkled around high-tech offices and it’s really a worse location then Candlestick Park, so the team is already suffering just being there.
    Should of stayed in the City by the Bay.

  4. Sorry, just don’t see how it’s the 9ers’ “responsibility” to make their stadium handicap friendly. It’s smart and morally righteous to do so and they should do so for their own good, but what handicapped person has actually been harmed to the tune of $4000? With a fund that large ($11 million), it seems like that July deadline is a bit short, doesn’t it?

    Yes, I do realize that the team boring money from the city does give them an obligation to make the stadium accommodating to the public, but what is the extent of that obligation? $24 million? Does any money even go towards structural improvements, or is it all just damages?

  5. If you want Public Good, the lawyers get their cut off-the-top? Ha!
    ——–
    This sentence made me think of Randy Moss. I miss sports.

  6. Perhaps the 49ers need to consult with James Madison University in Virginia. They have an amazing staff that provides incredible service to those with disabilities at their football stadium. That is one class act university. I wish I had gone there back in the day!

  7. In California, you need fourteen permits and five environmental surveys to bury your dog 2′ deep.

    How in the world did everyone overlook this in the design stage?

  8. “Sorry, just don’t see how it’s the 9ers’ “responsibility” to make their stadium handicap friendly.”
    ______________

    Because there are both federal and state laws specifically making it their responsibility. It’s unbelievable that anything built in the last decade would NOT be ADA compliant. It’s not like they had to do expensive retrofits on some old place built decades before people even were thinking about such things. You can build a new structure ADA compliant for minimal to no extra cost because you’re able to design it that way from the beginning. Either the architect was a complete idiot or they willfully chose to go this route.

  9. “Because there are both federal and state laws specifically making it their responsibility. It’s unbelievable that anything built in the last decade would NOT be ADA compliant. It’s not like they had to do expensive retrofits on some old place built decades before people even were thinking about such things. You can build a new structure ADA compliant for minimal to no extra cost because you’re able to design it that way from the beginning. Either the architect was a complete idiot or they willfully chose to go this route.”

    ————————-

    True, I should have worded that much better. My question here is why the damages are so high. Unless those people were actually injured, and the payout stipulates that the claimant has to have been injured to collect (which seems doubtful given the incredibly short window for claiming damages), then it seems odd that they are entitled to a payout. If anything, the city or whatever building inspection authority the stadium falls under should have levied (not pun intended) a fine, not a class action lawsuit on behalf on unhurt claimants.

    This is not a necessary building for government function. The payout is the major issue, not the requirement that the facility be ADA compliant (which, because the case was settled, actually was not ruled upon). Again, I realize that ADA compliance is mandatory, but are you deserving of $4000 minimum if you cannot attend a football game? It’s a stadium. Besides, the case was settled, so there’s no real judgment that the stadium was actually in violation of code or not. It just seems like exploitation of a situation more than it does necessary relief for injuries sustained.

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