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DOJ Sues SFX Entertainment

The Justice Department has sued SFX Entertainment Inc (doing business as Clear Channel Entertainment) on April 9 in US District Court of Philadelphia, over its policy prohibiting insulin-using diabetics from taking their medical supplies with them into concerts.

The lawsuit alleges that SFX violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by its policy barring diabetic supplies and enforcing it against two individuals who wanted to take their diabetic supplies with them into a concert.

"Individuals with diabetes are entitled to attend and enjoy community events, like anyone else, without putting their lives at risk," said Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "SFX's policy is unnecessary and reflects outdated fears about individuals with disabilities. Our goal is to foster integration of the disabled into society at large, and this suit will further that goal."

SFX Entertainment issued the following statement:

"We have not yet seen a copy of the lawsuit, but we would like to make clear that our policy is that medical supplies, which include syringes, may be brought into our entertainment venues, but must be taken to First Aid and stored with our medical services provider until a time when they may be needed. We believe that our policy does comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"It is our understanding that the Americans with Disabilities Act allows latitude when public safety risks may apply. The proper disposal of a syringe or needle is a public safety concern, and our policy is written to address this concern. As a result of a recent inquiry from the Department of Justice we are reviewing and reconfirming our policy. SFX Entertainment is committed to providing an enjoyable, live entertainment experience while working to assure the safety and welfare of all of our patrons."

The lawsuit was filed after negotiations for a voluntary settlement failed. The lawsuit seeks to eliminate SFX's discriminatory policy and to insure that individuals with diabetes have an equal opportunity to attend and enjoy SFX concerts. The lawsuit also seeks compensatory damages for the individual complainants and civil penalties for the Department of Justice.