Brooklyn’s Barclay Center has seen at least four lawsuits concerning the seats in Brooklyn’s most famous sports arena. The seats in the so-called “nosebleed” section are usually the cheapest, and now, according to lawsuits, also the most dangerous. Apparently, the steps are so steep that people are prone to miss a step and come crashing into other concert-goers or sports fans. The problem, generally compounded by drunken fans or concert attendees, has spurred four lawsuits against the arena.
The problem first came to the attention of Barclay’s Center almost as soon as the arena opened. During one of the high-profile Jay-Z concerts that inducted the new arena in 2012, Sara Smith of Manhattan sued the facility after a drunken man walking on the steps behind her lost his footing and fell on top of her. This “sent her flying.”
According to a court transcript obtained by the New York Post, Smith told the court, “My face struck the railing. My legs were all bruised, and you know, everything hurt at this point, so I didn’t know what I had broken. I was just really scared.” Smith ended up with a broken wrist and settled the case out of court for an undisclosed amount.
Almost the exact same thing happened again in 2013 when Elizabeth Silver was at a Billy Joel concert. The Long Islander fractured her wrist when another drunken concertgoer fell on top of her on the steps.
In 2015, a young boy was the victim of the steep steps when a “visibly intoxicated” man fell on top of him at the WWE’s Summer Slam event.
In March of this year, Kenneth Silver was the latest victim of the steep steps. While attending a hockey game the man was hit by a fan who had drunkenly fallen down the steps and onto him. According to his lawsuit against Barclay’s Center, the arena refused to pay for any of his medical costs or reimburse him for the cost of his ticket.
According to Barclay’s Center, the arena is “not defective” and over 10 million people have gone to concerts and sports events there since it has opened. According to a spokesman, Barclay’s “was built to the highest safety standards in the industry.”
Further, the design of the arena is in line with other arenas around the world. The steep grade of the steps and close seats are meant to bring fans closer to the action and allow more fans to visit the arena for each event.
However, according to victims of the drunken falls, this has not been their experience. With little space between rows, little space between seats, and a steep and narrow stairwell leading to all these seats, it’s just a lawsuit waiting to happen.