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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced the resolution of a lawsuit with Regal Entertainment Group filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The lawsuit challenged the construction of stadium-style movie theaters that fail to provide persons who use wheelchairs seating and line of sight comparable to that of the general public. Regal is the largest movie theater chain in the country with 3,500 screens.

“Opening everyday activities like a night at a movie theater to persons with disabilities is a core goal of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Today's agreement is another step toward making the ADA's promise a reality for thousands of Americans. We are pleased that Regal has worked with us to resolve this litigation and to provide necessary accommodations for its customers with disabilities.”

“One of the vital missions of the Justice Department is the enforcement of our nation’s civil rights laws. By requiring that patrons who use wheelchairs have equal access to seats with comparable views to those available to other theater patrons, the Americans with Disabilities Act ensures that people with disabilities can attend and enjoy performances like anyone else,” said Michael J. Sullivan, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. “We are pleased that Regal has decided to join in this proposed consent order and to provide the accommodations necessary for its patrons with disabilities.”

As a result of the consent agreement, Regal's current and future stadium-style theaters will provide improved lines of sight for persons who use wheelchairs. Under the decree, all future construction of Regal theaters will be designed in accordance with design requirements that place wheelchair seating near the middle of the auditorium. Regal also agreed to make changes to nearly 1000 existing stadium-style theaters by moving wheelchair seating further back from the screen. At the remaining theaters, Regal will ensure that any wheelchair seating be relocated as far back from the screen as possible without major reconstruction.

These stadium-style theaters offer superior lines of sight and a superlative movie-going experience. However, they present unique challenges for the placement of movie-goers using wheelchairs. While in the past such individuals may have had to sit directly under the screen, today's agreement affords them the opportunity to enjoy the same product as non-wheelchair users.

The United States Attorney’s Office filed suit to enforce the ADA in December 2000 in federal court in Boston, for the District of Massachusetts. The suit was initially filed against Hoyts Cinemas based upon private complaints filed with the Justice Department. Regal Entertainment Group acquired most of the former Hoyts movie theaters in 2004.

People interested in finding out more about the ADA can call the Justice Department's toll-free Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD), or access the ADA homepage at : <<>>