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The W - Football - Attorney for disabled activist asks court to block Super Bowl
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Since: 3.1.02
From: People's Republic of Massachusetts

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By SETH HETTENA, Associated Press Writer
January 3, 2003

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A lawyer wants a federal court to stop the Super Bowl unless the city expands access for the disabled at the stadium.

Attorney Amy Vandeveld said she filed an application for an injunction Friday in U.S. District Court to force the city to comply with the terms of a 2001 settlement aimed at expanding disabled access at Qualcomm Stadium. ADVERTISEMENT

``We want the court to deny access to Qualcomm Stadium for all events, including the Super Bowl, until all modifications under the settlement agreement are resolved,'' she said.

Vandeveld wrote a letter to the city last month saying that Qualcomm's restrooms were not in compliance with the agreement, which resolved a 1997 lawsuit brought by disabled activist Beverly Walker. Vandeveld said concession stands and entrances were inaccessible, and the required number of wheelchair seats had not been installed.

The city has argued that the Super Bowl, scheduled for Jan. 26, is a private event and is not covered under the terms of the agreement.

``We disagree with the allegations,'' said Maria Velasquez, spokeswoman for the city attorney.

A hearing on the request for the court order is scheduled for Thursday before Magistrate Judge Leo Papas.

Vandeveld, who represents Walker, said city officials showed continued indifference to the concerns, leaving her with no choice but to ``hit them in their pocketbook.''

``They were basically thumbing their nose at the court and the plaintiff and the settlement agreement,'' she said.

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