Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the filing and settlement of a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court against JUJAMCYN THEATERS LLC, the owners and operators of five of Broadway’s most historic theaters, the AL HIRSCHFELD, the AUGUST WILSON, the EUGENE O’NEILL, the ST. JAMES, and the WALTER KERR, involving violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (the “ADA”). The settlement, in the form of a consent decree, was entered yesterday by U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres.
U.S. Attorney Strauss said: “As New York City begins to reopen and welcome the world once again, we are pleased that Jujamcyn Theaters has worked collaboratively with the Office to improve accessibility at its historic venues, so that all patrons are able to enjoy Broadway. As a result of this suit and settlement, coupled with similar lawsuits filed by the Office against the Shubert Theaters in 2003, and the Nederlander Theaters in 2014, all three of the major Broadway theater organizations have committed to making their venues significantly more accessible to people with disabilities.”
According to the Complaint and Consent Decree filed in Manhattan federal court:
In the course of an investigation and negotiation over several years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office identified numerous ADA violations at each of the five theaters operated by JUJAMCYN THEATERS LLC, all of which were opened in the 1920s. The ADA generally requires that, for facilities constructed prior to the effective date of the ADA in 1993, barriers to accessibility be removed where it is readily achievable to do so. Throughout the Government’s investigation and the negotiation of the Consent Decree, JUJAMCYN THEATERS LLC agreed to remove hundreds of barriers to accessibility.
Under the Consent Decree, JUJAMCYN THEATERS LLC agrees to continue its efforts to improve accessibility at its theaters, as the schedules of shows at the theaters permit. Specifically, JUJAMCYN THEATERS LLC has agreed to do the following:
- provide a total of 44 wheelchair accessible seating locations, and direct its ticket vendors to accord priority to persons with disabilities in selling those seating locations;
- provide a total of 54 aisle transfer seating locations for persons who are able to transfer from a wheelchair into a seat, and direct its ticket vendors to accord priority to persons with disabilities in selling those seating locations; and
- eliminate approximately 200 individual barriers to accessibility in theater restrooms, concession counters, waiting areas, and box offices.
In addition, JUJAMCYN THEATERS LLC will pay a $40,000 civil penalty to the United States.
Since President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has played a significant role in bringing numerous New York City institutions into compliance with the ADA and its regulations. The Office’s enforcement efforts include, among many others, Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the Shubert Theaters, the Nederlander Theaters, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, the Apollo Theater, the Puck Building, the Rainbow Room, and The Vessel at Hudson Yards.
To file a complaint alleging that any place of public accommodation within the Southern District of New York is not accessible to persons with disabilities, use the Civil Rights Complaint Form available on the United States Attorney’s Office’s website, www.usdoj.gov/usao/nys. Complaints should be sent to:
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York
86 Chambers Street, 3rd Floor
New York, New York, 10007
Attention: Chief, Civil Rights Unit
The case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Kennedy is charge of the case.