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Fibromyalgia patient proudly shuts down part of Grape Bowl stadium

Lana Bandoim's picture
Grape Bowl stadium

A fibromyalgia patient, who is suing the city of Lodi in California, is proud that his lawsuit has temporarily shut down a portion of the Grape Bowl. The city has blocked access to the north side of the bleachers after receiving the complaints from James Smith. He reported that the bleachers in this section were not complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


James Smith has fibromyalgia and also suffers from arthritis and diabetes. The Lodi News-Sentinel reports that he experienced several problems during a football game at the Grape Bowl. Smith was forced to sit on the north side of the bleachers, but they have not been changed to meet the ADA guidelines. Currently, only the south side bleachers are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Smith did not have a choice and was forced to find a seat on the north side of the stadium bleachers. However, he explained that the area was difficult for him to access with his walker. He also struggled to reach the bathrooms from his seat and other parts of the stadium. City officials claim that Smith was incorrectly seated in the area, and he should have been directed to the south side.

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Smith is suing the city, but officials point out that they have an ADA-transition plan for the stadium. The plan will take several years before the north side of the bleachers is renovated. The city owns the Grape Bowl, but it has a joint-use agreement with the Lodi Unified School District. Smith attended a high school football game from this district at the stadium.

The decision to shut off access to the north side bleachers of the Grape Bowl has left schools wondering about seating issues. The inability to use a large portion of the bleachers means that spectators at some games may not be able to find a seat.

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