A Chicago Cubs fan is taking the owners of the team to federal court over changes made to wheelchair-accessible seating following renovations at The Friendly Confines.
David F. Cerda, 20, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that affects the muscles, and has used a wheelchair since he was 10 years old, according to a lawsuit filed in December.
His father, Chicago attorney David A. Cerda, is representing his son in his case against the Cubs. They decided to pursue a lawsuit after attending two games together during the 2017 season.
Prior to extensive renovations at Wrigley Field that began in 2014, David F. Cerda used to enjoy sitting in wheelchair seating areas located in the right field bleachers and behind home plate, according to the suit.
As part of the renovations, the suit says, the right and left field bleachers were demolished. When they were rebuilt, the right field no longer had a wheelchair seating area — instead a special seating area with a bar was put in its place.
“You had very nice accessible seating in the right field bleachers,” David A. Cerda said of their experience attending games before the renovations. “David was very unhappy when they eliminated the seating in the right field bleachers.
“It was a willful decision they made for more profit —they make more money out of an area with a bar.”
After renovations, the wheelchair seating area behind home plate was also changed, according to the suit. Wheelchair seating was moved father away from the field, and when Cerda attended a 2017 game at the ballpark, he could no longer had a clear view of the field when other fans attending the game were standing.
The suit claims that the placement of wheelchair seating areas at Wrigley Field after the renovations violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design requires “that wheelchair spaces be an integral part of the seating plan at Wrigley Field,” and that seating plans should provide spectators that use wheelchairs with choices of seating locations and view angles that are equivalent to or better than those available for other spectators.
A spokesperson for the Chicago Cubs did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.
The suit seeks to compel the ballpark to make wheelchair seating available in the right and left fields, to add wheelchair seating for lower box seats that is equal or better than previous seating that was available, and make front row wheelchair seating behind home plate available to fans with disabilities.