United States District Court, D. Colorado
KIRSTIN KURLANDER, on behalf of herself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
KROENKE ARENA COMPANY, LLC, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR
FINAL APPROVAL OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
Y. DANIEL, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Unopposed
Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement (ECF No.
66), filed on March 23, 2018. On April 5, 2018, the Court
held a hearing on this motion and Plaintiff's Unopposed
Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Costs (ECF No. 67). For
the reasons set forth below, I will grant Plaintiff's
Unopposed Motion for Final Approval of Class Action
Kirstin Kurlander, a deaf woman, brought this class action
case to address the lack of captioning at sporting events at
the Pepsi Center, which is owned and operated by Defendant
Kroenke Arena Company, LLC (“KAC”). Plaintiff
alleged that KAC was in violation of Title III of the
Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181
et seq. (“Title III” or “ADA”). KAC
denied such liability.
August 31, 2017, this Court certified the following class
pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a) and
All Pepsi Center patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing and
unable to hear using assistive listening devices, who have
been, since November 10, 2014, or in the future will be,
denied full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services,
facilities, advantages, or accommodations of the Pepsi Center
based on Defendant's failure to provide open captioning
of aural content during non-concert events for which the
center-hung display is used.
on Class Certification (ECF No. 55) at 2, 17. The Court also
appointed Plaintiff Kirstin Kurlander as the class
representative and Amy Robertson of the Civil Rights
Education and Enforcement Center as class counsel pursuant to
Rule 23(g). Id. at 17.
December 28, 2017, the parties reached a settlement in this
matter, memorialized in a proposed Consent Decree, which this
Court approved on a preliminary basis on January 9, 2018 (ECF
FINDINGS OF FACT
September, 2015 -- a bit more than a year before this lawsuit
was filed --Plaintiff sent Defendant a detailed letter
describing Plaintiff's analysis of Title III's open
captioning requirement applicable to arenas, such as the
Pepsi Center. The parties discussed the possibility of
resolution for over a year, but were unable to reach
agreement. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit in November, 2016,
and the parties focused on discovery and class certification.
Following certification of the Class on August 31, 2017, ECF
55, the parties began to discuss different options for
providing open captioning at the Pepsi Center. Counsel for
Plaintiff and counsel for KAC attended a basketball game
together in October, 2017, which started two months of
negotiations, drafting, and site visits that resulted in the
proposed Consent Decree.
Consent Decree requires KAC to caption all aural content
spoken over the public address system as well as the lyrics
of songs selected at least 24 hours before the event for all
non-concert events for which the center-hung display is used.
Consent Decree ¶ III(A). It will provide this open
captioning on four LED displays mounted on the fascia of the
third level of the Pepsi Center starting with the first
preseason Avalanche game of the 2018 season. Id.
¶ III(B). Each board will show two lines of captioning
in a font that is at least 10 inches high, and each board
will provide space for captioning that is at least 45
characters long. Id.
Consent Decree requires KAC to provide information concerning
captioning at various locations in the Pepsi Center and on
relevant websites and publications of the Pepsi Center, and
to retain a third party consultant to monitor the quality of
captioning provided pursuant to the Consent Decree.
Id. ¶ IV.
Consent Decree provides that, subject to Court approval, KAC
will pay Class Counsel's attorneys' fees and costs
through final approval in an amount not to exceed $200, 000,
and will pay for work relating to monitoring in an amount not
to exceed $75, 000. Id. ¶ IX.
Consent Decree does not provide for an award of damages to
Plaintiff or to the Class and the Class does not release any
claims for damages. In accordance with the only remedies
available under Title III, the claims released by the Class
are limited to claims for ...