Veteran files discrimination suit against Six Flags Magic Mountain  

Coaster riders scream while riding the new Wonder Woman Flight of Courage rollercoaster during a media preview event for the ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Thursday, July 14, 2022. The ride will officially open on Saturday, July 16th.
Coaster riders scream while riding the new Wonder Woman Flight of Courage rollercoaster during a media preview event for the ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Thursday, July 14, 2022. The ride will officially open on Saturday, July 16th. Chris Torres/The Signal

A veteran from Bakersfield, who alleges Six Flags Magic Mountain’s park-registry program he has to use for the services he needs due to his combat-related injuries is discriminatory, filed a class-action lawsuit this week in federal court. 

The plaintiff in the 56-page complaint, identified only as a U.S. Army veteran named I.L., states the park’s guest-registry program “discriminated against plaintiff by failing to provide him with an opportunity to participate in and benefit from defendants’ amusement services free from discrimination.”  

The lawsuit focuses on a program adopted in 2020 to accommodate guests with disabilities, called the “Attraction Access Program.” 

“Under the Attraction Accessibility Program, defendants require guests with disabilities to register ahead of their visits to Six Flags theme parks across the U.S. with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards,” according to the lawsuit. 

A representative for Six Flags Magic Mountain did not respond to a request for comment this week in response to the lawsuit. A representative for the plaintiff’s Walnut Creek firm, Bursor & Fisher P.A., declined to comment on the lawsuit Thursday. 

The complaint alleges the IBCCES is, “a private, for-profit company that is not affiliated with any governmental agency or regulatory body.”  

The IBCCES, which has offices listed in Jacksonville, did not immediately respond to an email Friday regarding questions about the claims made in the lawsuit. 

However, the complaint alleges the program utilized by IBCCES, which calls itself “the industry leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for education, health care, corporate and travel & entertainment professionals” on its website, amounts to “systemic civil rights violations committed by Six Flags against disabled individuals, as set forth under Title III of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990.” 

The park’s Attraction Access Program requires guests to “register online with IBCCES and obtain an Individual Accessibility Card (‘IAC’) at least 48 hours in advance of their park visit,” according to the lawsuit, and “as part of the online registration process, guests must disclose sensitive personal information and provide private medical documentation in support of their accommodation requests.” 

The veteran has “several ADA-qualifying disabilities, including sciatic nerve damage on the left side of his body, post-traumatic stress disorder and gastroesophageal reflux disease,” according to the complaint. The plaintiff “has difficulty gripping objects and has unsteady hands, has diminished use of his shoulders and upper body, is unable to remain standing for a significant amount of time (no more than 10 minutes at a time), has difficulty walking extensive distances, experiences heightened sensitivity to crowds, noise and touch, and must be able to urgently access restrooms at a moment’s notice and without delay, among other limitations,” according to the complaint.  

“These physical and mental impairments therefore substantially limit several ‘major life activities,’ including plaintiff’s ability to independently care for himself, perform manual tasks, eat, stand, bend, concentrate, think, communicate and work,” the suit states. 

The lawsuit states its general concerns about the widely used service.  

“The documentation requirement is also problematic,” the suit claims, stating it’s “burdensome and cannot reasonably be met by all persons with an ADA-qualifying injury, as the (Centers for Disease Control) has noted that at least 25% of adults do not have a usual health care provider.” 

That means, according to the suit, that those without documentation of their condition are not able to access the park.  
The filing comes six weeks after the theme park’s parent company, Six Flags Entertainment Corp., announced an $8 billion “merger of equals” with the Ohio-based owner Cedar Fair, the company that owns and operates Knott’s Berry Farm, among other amusement properties in a national portfolio. 

Six Flags Magic Mountain, located on Magic Mountain Parkway, employs approximately 2,500 people, according to the most recent figures from the SCV Economic Development Corp.  

The merger created an entity with a portfolio of 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks and nine resort properties across 17 states in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, according to both companies. 

“Defendants have therefore failed to implement policies, procedures, and practices respecting the civil rights and needs of disabled individuals,” the lawsuit claims. “Instead of ensuring access, defendants’ disability access policy has prevented disabled persons from exercising their rights to meaningfully access, enjoy, and participate in society just as non-disabled persons.” 

The defendants in the suit have not yet filed a response in court as of Friday morning. 

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