Madigan, House of Blues reach agreement

Bryan Cohen Sep. 2, 2011, 1:49pm


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Friday that the House of Blues Chicago and owner Live Nation Worldwide Inc. have implemented changes in accordance with a 2009 settlement agreement.

Live Nation completed interior renovations and implemented new operating policies to bring the concert venue into compliance with federal and state disability rights laws. The facility operators also paid a $100,000 fine to the state and retrained their staff as a result of the agreement.

The changes made at the Chicago location resolve a complaint filed with Madigan's Disability Rights Bureau by Kristina Allen, a 24-year-old wheelchair user who attended a concert at the House of Blues Chicago in 2004. During the visit, Allen was allegedly told by House of Blues staff that she could not observe the concert from the dance floor with her friends and was escorted to an area of the facility where the view of the stage was blocked by other patrons.

Pursuant to the agreement with Madigan's office, the concert venue operators installed automatic doors, made stages and backstage areas accessible, modified bathrooms and removed all protruding objects that are hazardous for people with low vision or blindness. In addition, the facility now offers wheelchair seating.

The House of Blues will also train employees to ensure that they are better equipped to accommodate guests with disabilities, including providing access to the dance floor at all times and maintaining a platform lift that allows access to the stage and manual operation of the elevator whenever wheelchair users need access to upper levels. Employees are also trained to predetermine accessibility needs of pre-booked private parties.

"People with disabilities are entitled by law to fair and equal access," Madigan said. "Thanks to the cooperation of everyone involved, we were able to come to a practical solution to eliminate physical barriers that limited access to the concert venue."

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