must place wheelchair locations with enhanced sightlines into other sections on those two levels.
IV. Plaintiffs' D.C. Human Rights Act Claim
In addition to their claims under the ADA, plaintiffs have sued under the District of Columbia's Human Rights Act, D.C. Code § 1-2519. See Amended Complaint, Count III. The D.C. courts have always looked to cases from the federal courts in interpreting the D.C. Human Rights Act, and have followed, wherever applicable, precedents from the federal courts' treatment of comparable civil rights statutes. Benefits Communication Corp. v. Klieforth, 642 A.2d 1299, 1301-02 (D.C. 1994). See also O'Donnell v. Associated General Contractors, 645 A.2d 1084, 1086 (D.C. 1994); American University v. District of Columbia Commission, 598 A.2d 416, 422 (D.C. 1991); Miller v. American Coalition of Citizens With Disabilities, Inc., 485 A.2d 186, 190 (D.C. 1984). This Court has also applied legal standards under the ADA to claims under the D.C. Human Rights Act. Whitbeck v. Vital Signs, Civ. No. 95-1011, 934 F. Supp. 9, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11729 (D.D.C. Aug. 2, 1996), at *11. Therefore, the D.C. law is applied in the same manner as the parallel federal antidiscrimination provisions.
Defendants' design fails to comply with the requirements of the D.C. Human Rights Act for the same reasons that it fails to comply with the ADA. Furthermore, defendants may seek to remedy their noncompliance with both statutes in the same manner.
The MCI Center, as designed, would not be "readily accessible to and usable by" wheelchair users, as is required by the ADA. Although its seating bowl complies with the integration element required by the Department of Justice Standards on Accessible Design, it fails to comply with the sightline and dispersal elements. Under the current design, less than 40% of the wheelchair spaces required by the JDSAD provide an unobstructed line of sight when spectators stand. Furthermore, almost all of these seats are located in the end zone areas. These failures may be remedied, and defendants may alter their design so that it provides substantial seating which complies with these elements. However, it is up to defendants to devise and design these alterations. While the Court has addressed some remedies that defendants have proposed, it cannot and will not specify solutions for the sightline and dispersal problems.
The Court will issue an order that, consistent with this memorandum opinion, requires defendants to construct the MCI Center in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and to submit a proposed design to the Court within 30 days.
Thomas F. Hogan
United States District Judge
As the Court has described in its accompanying memorandum opinion, it concludes that defendants' designs for the MCI Center fail to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act's requirements for accessible seating for wheelchair users. Specifically, the designs fail to provide a substantial number of the required wheelchair spaces with lines of sight over standing spectators and fail to adequately disperse the wheelchair spaces throughout the seating bowl.
For these reasons and those stated in the memorandum opinion, it is hereby
ORDERED that defendants' motion for reconsideration of the Court's Order denying summary judgment is DENIED ; it is further
ORDERED that defendants are permanently and affirmatively ENJOINED to design and construct the facility in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and with the D.C. Human Rights Act, including, in particular, to ensure that
a) the facility provides wheelchair locations for one percent plus one of the total capacity for each seating configuration;