The Big House Is Target of Lawsuit

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A disabled veterans group filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Michigan Tuesday, claiming wheelchair users are being denied equal access to Michigan Stadium.

The suit, filed in Federal District Court in Ann Arbor by the Michigan paralyzed Veterans of America, claims university officials are "intentionally" avoiding compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act dictating the number and location of wheelchair seating within stadiums.

A $226 million renovation is planned for the 107,000-seat Michigan Stadium, which currently has 90 wheelchair-accessible seats. The renovation would add 72 more wheelchair-accessible seats.

"It's extremely disappointing that it had to come to this," said Richard Bernstein, the attorney representing the plaintiffs.

A message seeking comment was left for a university spokeswoman.

Bernstein said the university has parceled out the ongoing renovation project and purposely dubbed it a "repair," rather than an "alteration." Doing so, he said, allows university officials to sidestep federal requirements that would require 1 percent, or about 1,000 wheelchair-accessible seats, to be dispersed throughout the stadium.

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