Lawsuit: Ticketmaster’s Website for Purchasing Seahawks Tickets Violates the ADA
by Andy Jones
January 9, 2017
Barry Long, a Woodinville resident who uses a wheelchair, attends multiple Seattle Seahawks games a year at Century Link Field.
Like most people seeking seats at the stadium, he has attempted to purchase tickets through Ticketmaster, the nation’s largest online ticket outlet. However, Ticketmaster’s website makes it “impossible to identify which seats are wheelchair accessible,” a new federal lawsuit, filed on Long’s behalf, asserts.
"Barry Long is a diehard sports fan who simply wants to be able to attend events such as Seahawks games as easily and inexpensively as everyone else,” said Attorney Conrad Reynoldson, of Washington Civil and Disability Advocate. “However the www.ticketexchangebyticketmaster.com run by Ticketmaster does not provide him, or any other guests who require wheelchair accessible and companion seating, any ability to specifically purchase those seats.
“This puts people like Barry in a difficult position. Either don't go to the game at all when the only tickets left are on the website or buy non accessible seats through the website and hope something can be worked out at the game.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits disability discrimination in the “full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any places of public accommodation.”
While courts are split on the question of whether this mandate encompasses stand-alone websites, the ADA covers websites where there is a “connection between the good or services complained of and an actual physical place,” such as Ticketmaster and Century Link Field, the lawsuit states.
In addition to the ADA, the complaint, filed December 22, alleges violations of the Washington Law Against Discrimination. It seeks compensatory relief for Long and injunctive relief to bring Ticketmaster into compliance with the ADA and WLAD.
“Designating accessible and companion tickets on the website would neither be difficult or expensive and is simply the right thing to do to ensure equal access for all sports fans as well as to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act," Reynoldson said.
Christopher Carney, an attorney with Carney Gillespie Isitt PLLP, is assisting Reynoldson with the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, is named as the defendant.
The full complaint can be read here [PDF].