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Franklin Man Files Lawsuit Against AMC Entertainment Over Lack of Disability Access

November 28, 2018
Source: Daily News Journal, Tennessee

A Franklin man is suing AMC Entertainment, a popular movie theater chain, because he says the theaters lack appropriate handicap accessibility.

Janek John Pawlik filed a civil case on November 20 against the entertainment giant because he said they don’t have handicap buttons [also known as automatic doors or power doors] on their theater entryways, which makes it difficult for people who use wheelchairs to enter or exit the building.

"I just don’t know why a company would spend money and not (add the buttons)," Pawlik said, referencing the recent renovations AMC did in Middle Tennessee. "I’m not being a (expletive), I just don’t understand."

The lawsuit names AMC theaters in Spring Hill, Antioch, Murfreesboro and Nashville. Pawlik, who is representing himself in lieu of an attorney, requested the case be heard in front of a jury.

In his civil case, Pawlik, who uses a wheelchair, says AMC specifically violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which focuses on public accommodations and commercial facilities, such as a theater.

"Why should I have to wait for someone to open the door for me?" Pawlik asked.

Pawlik contacted the individual managers of the theaters named in the lawsuit. He said they told him not including the handicap button was a corporate decision. Pawlik said he hadn’t attempted to contact the corporate office prior to filing the lawsuit.

He contacted the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice who told him that they decided not to take further action on his complaint due to the influx of ADA complaints they receive annually.

AMC Entertainment didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

ADA says lack of handicap button not a violation

"Not having power doors isn’t a violation under ADA," said Rebecca Williams with the Southeast ADA Center.

While the ADA does dictate door widths and weight, there’s nothing on the books for push buttons.

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