Kirstin Kurlander, a deaf woman and season ticket holder for lacrosse team Denver Mammoth, has settled a lawsuit with the Kroenke Arena Company over the Pepsi Center’s lack of captioning at non-concert events. Per the settlement, Pepsi Center in Denver will caption all aural content spoken over the public address system.
The settlement also calls on Kroenke, who owns the 18,000-capacity arena, to provide the lyrics of songs selected at least 24 hours before the event for any non-concert event for which the center-hung display is used.
“The Pepsi Center has offered interpreters to its Deaf and Hard of Hearing patrons since its opening and, more recently, captioning on handheld devices at sporting events. We are now pleased to offer open captioning in the arena for sporting and similar non-concert events,” said Jim Martin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kroenke Arena Company in a statement.
In 2016, Kurlander filed a class action lawsuit against the owners of the Pepsi Center after informally requesting captions at the arena. As a result, later that year Pepsi Center began to provide captions on handheld devices such as smartphones or tablets and worked with Kurlander and her attorneys at the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center in Colorado on a solution that would provide general visibility throughout the arena.
Kroenke will now provide open captioning on four LED displays mounted on the face of the third level of the Pepsi Center and generally visible throughout the arena. The settlement stipulates that with the new captioning will begin with the first preseason Avalanche game of the 2018 season. Each board will show two lines of captioning in a font that is at least 10 inches high and will provide space for captioning that is at least 45 characters long.
The settlement also requires Kroenke to retain a third party consultant to monitor the quality of captioning provided.
Kurlander said in a release,“I am very pleased that the Pepsi Center will provide captioning and I look forward to attending lacrosse and other games there with full access to the information broadcast in the arena.”
The settlement also requires Kroenke to retain a third party consultant to monitor the quality of captioning provided, which the arena company will be financially responsible for.
The agreement does not provide monetary relief for Kurlander or other members of the class, but Kroenke will pay their counsel for reasonable attorneys’ fees, expenses, and costs.
“We were pleased with the Pepsi Center’s willingness to explore different solutions, and are glad that Deaf and Hard of Hearing sports fans will have equal access to games there,” said Amy Robertson, Co-Executive Director at CREEC in a statement.