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NY Post front-page: suits vs. Barclays charge too-dangerous steep seats

Update: also see coverage of this issue on Inside Edition and in the Sacramento Bee.

Everyone who's been to the cheap seats at the Barclays Center knows they're pretty steep, thus adding a measure of hazard, and in some cases a very cramped fit trying to get past those already sitting down.

Add in a full house, large people, and/or drunkenness, and the hazard compounds.

A cover story Sunday, posted Saturday 9/16/17 as Fans sue Barclays Center over ‘exceedingly dangerous’ cheap seats, states:
The steep upper bowl of the Barclays Center has prompted at least four lawsuits from folks claiming they were crushed by fellow patrons who tumbled over the harrowingly sheer, narrow, dark rows or stairs.
The story is keyed to the latest of the lawsuits, likely goosed by the plaintiff's attorney, since this case, as far as I can tell, is not yet publicly available in the state court database.

(I couldn't find the other three alleged suits, either, which means either I need to look harder, or they might have been settled before they moved ahead. A lawyer told the Post he's been contacted by more than a dozen "injured Barclays customers" in two years.)

Inherently flawed?

The question for the press, and for the judicial system, is whether the design is inherently flawed, since the building did not violate any city building regulations. After all, the Barclays Center--a rep told the New York Post--is among ten (of 30) NBA arenas with a steep 36-degree pitch. Unclear: how large the sections are with that pitch.

In most sports venues (a category that includes more than arenas)  the pitch is 30 to 33 degrees, James Renne of Rossetti Architects, told the Post. The upper deck at Madison Square Garden is 30 degrees; the trade-off, of course, is that attendees feel farther from the action.

Some reactions on Twitter
From the article

The article summarizes the cases:
“I just heard a ‘Watch out!’ and like a split second later, a pretty hefty guy landed on my back and on my neck,” said Kenneth Silver, 58, who was hit by a flying fan at a March hockey game.
Silver, who once had a regular seat in the upper level, said, “It’s almost like people are standing on top of each other. This is the most extreme arena I’ve seen in the New York area, and I’ve been in almost every one.”
His lawyer said the 19,000-seat Brooklyn venue’s “defective design” contributed to the incident.
The Manhattan man is just the latest to gripe about the Atlantic Avenue arena’s precipitous cheap seats.
In 2015, a boy at WWE’s Summer Slam was hit by a stumbling, “visibly intoxicated” patron who couldn’t navigate the stairs in Section 228, the child and his dad said in court papers.
In 2013, Long Islander Elizabeth Silver was at Billy Joel’s New Year’s Eve show when she fractured her wrist sitting in Section 211. An apparently drunken fan toppled into her, according to her lawsuit.
Other complaints

Looking at the review site Yelp, for example, the Barclays Center has an overall rating of 3.5, which is generally positive. Sort by lowest rating, however, and several complaints about the pitch surface. Some excerpts, all from different commenters:
  • The seats in the upper sections are terrible - the pitch is very extreme (the seat in front of you is at your toes) so I (and many people around me) felt like they might fall to their death from the upper deck.
  • This isn't even mentioning Barclays Center's other issues, including its vertiginous seating, poor lighting, and incredibly sticky floors.
  • The upper deck is so steep that navigating your way down is a dangerous experience.
  • May God have mercy if you have seats in the middle of the row in the 200 sections. Talk about a safety hazard! Little room to walk in and out of row. Never have been in an arena so tight before.
  • You also better not have even a slight fear of heights, the angle you sit is actually nauseating. You feel like you are going to fall if you even stand up too quickly. Iron workers wouldn't want these seats!
  • No way in hell that I'm ever going back to Barclays!!!! I'm sorry but if you're in section 200 you're a goner since the seats are very steep with no room to walk through. For example if you need to go to the bathroom or get food it's like suicide. I cannot believe that when they designed this arena they did not put any space between the seats in front of you!!!! I witnessed a guy fall down three rows or should I say roll down three rows!!!!