Developing Best Practices for Complying with the ADA and Minimizing Legal Risk

February 27, 2015 8:15am

Cory Hutchinson
General Manager
Funtown Splashtown USA

David Raizman
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

Erik H. Beard
Wiggin and Dana LLP

In January 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a ruling in Castelan v. Universal Studios, Inc. which discussed the implications of the ADA as it relates to amusement parks and its interaction with state ride safety regulation. A few months later, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a ruling in Bench v. Six Flags Over Texas, Inc. which came to virtually an opposite conclusion than the one reached by the Castelan court. This panel shall address the intricacies of complying with the ADA and defending suits raised under the Americans with Disabilities Act in a recreation, leisure, entertainment, or amusement facility.

  • Understanding the tension between the ADA’s presumption of inclusion and access with the need to ensure safety of guests and patrons
  • Preparing for liability due to amended policies prohibiting a patron’s access to a ride where access was previously granted
  • Training employees on the ADA accessibility guidelines to help them make informed decisions on denying or granting access to patrons
    • Determining whether to permit a guest onto a ride when the manufacturer’s manual written prior to 1992 does not provide any guidance
  • Compiling documentary evidence to establish that a patron was denied access due to safety reasons in the event of litigation
  • Examining the impact of A.L. v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc. and whether recreation and leisure facilities have a legal obligation to provide disabled guests with immediate access