A Chicago woman who requires the use of a wheelchair has filed a federal lawsuit against LA Fitness over an elevator that has remained unrepaired at her club.

Kristina Lebedeva filed the lawsuit on Sept. 20 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. Lebedeva claims LA Fitness is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which according to the complaint obtained by iClubs, provides that “No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.”

Lebedeva is diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, muscular degeneration and severe osteoporosis, according to the complaint. On a doctor’s recommendation, Lebedeva began swimming at the Streeterville club in Chicago when she joined in 2010. 

Because of health reasons, Lebedeva canceled her membership in 2011, but she rejoined the club in 2012 after LA Fitness took over ownership. She has accessed the club’s elevator to go one floor up to the women’s locker room, where she needs assistance to get in her swimsuit.

The elevator broke in the summer of 2015, according to the complaint, and Lebedeva has been unable to swim at the club. She has contacted club management  on numerous occasions to get the elevator repaired, but it remains inoperable. In August, the club completed temporary modifications to an individual poolside bathroom that had been proposed back in June to allow Lebedeva to access the pool while she waits for the elevator to be repaired.

An attorney for LA Fitness had informed Lebedeva that it would refund her membership fees for the period when the elevator was broken. But Lebedeva told Loop North News that she has not received a refund.

“I’ve waited for more than a year for the elevator to be repaired,” Lebedeva told the website. “I have a right to equal access. I shouldn’t have to wait that long in order to access the same locker room and showers used by other members of LA Fitness.”

 

Stuart Goldman is Editor of iClubs.