Ariz. AG settles with theater chain

Bryan Cohen Jul. 23, 2012, 10:23am


PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced a settlement on Thursday with Cinemark Holdings Inc. to improve access for the theater chain's hearing impaired customers.

Under the terms of the settlement, hearing impaired customers will have expanded access to the dialogue, sound track and sound effects for first run movies, independent films and other performances shown at Cinemark's theaters during the height of the summer blockbuster season.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by Horne's Civil Rights Division in June 2011.

"Everyone, regardless of a disability, should have the opportunity to enjoy the widest variety of entertainment options available," Horne said. "I commend Cinemark Theaters for providing customers who are hard of hearing with the necessary devices to give the hearing-impaired more options and for the cooperative way in which it worked to resolve the lawsuit."

Under the terms of the agreement, Cinemark agreed to equip its six Arizona theaters with neckloops and receivers and to make the devices available at Cinemark Mesa 16, Cinemark 10 in Sierra Vista, Century Theatres at Oro Valley Marketplace, Century Park Place 20 and XD, Century Gateway 12 and Century 20 El Con.

Additionally, Cinemark will track the demand for neckloops and purchase more if needed to meet actual demand generated by customers using the devices, train its staff to make sure it can assist guests to find, operate and troubleshoot the devices, and take steps to market the neckloops' availability, including sending notices to various agencies serving the deaf and hard of hearing community, posting signs in the box office window and lobby, and indicating availability on its website.

The Arizonans with Disabilities Act prohibits disability discrimination in places of public accommodation, including day care centers, professional offices, retail stores, restaurants, hotels and movie theaters.

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