Los Angeles Dodgers found liable in parking-lot beating that left fan with brain damage

A Los Angeles civil jury on Wednesday awarded about $18 million in damages to Bryan Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan who suffered permanent brain damage after a fight with two other fans at a Dodgers Stadium parking lot on Opening Day in 2011. The jury found the Dodgers partly responsible for the incident, meaning they will “pay about $14 million in economic losses and a portion of a separate sum for pain and suffering, which adds about $1 million more,” the plaintiff’s attorney told the Associated Press.

The Los Angeles Times put that number at $13.9 million, per a team attorney, who added that it’s unclear whether the team will appeal the verdict.

The two Dodgers fans, Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, pleaded guilty in criminal court earlier this year because of the incident, which took place in Parking Lot 2 of Dodgers Stadium after the Dodgers and the Giants opened the 2011 season. Sanchez, who threw the sucker-punch that caused Stow to fall and hit his head on the pavement, pleaded guilty to felony mayhem and received an eight-year prison term. Norwood pleaded guilty to felony assault and received a four-year sentence.

The jury found that the Dodgers were only 25 percent liable for the incident, with the rest assigned to the assailants, but under California law the team is responsible for his medical bills and lost earnings.

Here’s more from the AP:

Lawyers for the 45-year-old Stow claimed the Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt failed to provide adequate security at the stadium. The defense countered that security was stronger than ever at an opening day contest and Stow was partially to blame because he was drunk.

McCourt was absolved by the jury on Wednesday. …

The jury’s finding was “a lot better than what we had,” Dave Stow said.

“He did get some money to help the future and that’s what we wanted — we wanted help,” he said. “He’s not going to be 100 percent, maybe for a long time, maybe never. What he gets is going to help him through now, and that’s what he needs.”

Stow, the father of two young children, will require round-the-clock medical care for the rest of his life. Dana Fox, an attorney for the Dodgers, argued that Stow shared some of the blame for the incident because his blood-alcohol level was 0.18 percent, more than double the legal limit for driving, and because witnesses recounted Stow instigating other fans in the parking lot. Fox also said that the security in place for the 2011 season opener was the largest show of force in team history, and that the team had no chance of preventing the incident.

But former Dodgers security personnel “testified that the organization was ill-equipped to handle the massive crowd that arrived for opening day in 2011,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

“This is the first security job that I had worked where there really wasn’t any order to how things should be done as far as my safety, the protection of fans,” said one former guard, who added that he’d been told security was short-staffed that day.

The jury also heard from the two security guards who were assigned to Parking Lot 2, where Stow was beaten, but who arrived well after the attack took place. And the current head of security for the Dodgers admitted that he left the organization for a year in part because he disagreed with the team’s decision to reduce the number of uniformed off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officers at games, instead relying more on guards who earned less and wore polo shirts.

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.
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