On Friday, December 15th, Judge J. Kathleen Learned ruled against disabled woman, Joanne Lawrence, who filed suit against Brooks and Seattle's Key Arena, alleging that concertgoers in wheelchairs were deliberately denied access to seating in the front two rows at his concerts. She also stated that tickets were held back and given solely to "pretty women" and that seating provided for them was inadequate.

"In the matter of tickets in the front two rows being given to attractive women, the judge ruled that the only evidence presented to back those claims was hearsay, irrelevant, speculative and not credible. As a result, that evidence was excluded," said Rusty Jones, Brooks' attorney. "Also on Friday, Judge Learned ruled that Ms. Lawrence is NOT entitled to any injunction against Garth that would seek to change his policies on any concerts and touring that might take place in the future. Finally, Judge Learned agreed to dismiss Ms. Lawrence's claim that Garth should be liable for aiding and abetting the city of Seattle's alleged seating discrimination. And she ruled that Garth and his touring company did not have control over handicapped seating at the arena."

Jones continued, "We also want to take this opportunity to clarify the incorrect and incomplete statements made in the media concerning the issues in this hearing. It is true that Garth does not sell the first two rows of tickets as part of an anti-scalping policy begun in 1992. Instead, as a matter of policy, tickets to seats in those two rows are handed out just prior to show time to ticket holders in seats farthest away from the stage. The tickets are given to concertgoers inside the arena by Brooks' staff, associates, and building employees. The tickets are NOT given to friends, relatives, or acquaintances of Brooks, his band or crew, as was mistakenly reported."

"Ms. Lawrence filed a similar lawsuit against the Tacoma Dome, Ticketmaster, Garth and his touring company after a 1993 Garth Brooks concert," said Jones. "Garth and his touring company were dismissed from the suit, which was later settled out of court between Ms. Lawrence and the Tacoma Dome. Garth has always supported the rights of the disabled, and since he has no control over the location of handicapped seating in a venue we find it unfortunate that he was named in this lawsuit. We feel that Garth will be dismissed from this lawsuit as he was in the 1993 suit."


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