A Los Angeles jury has reached a verdict after over a week of deliberations, which included a moment of deadlock, over Bryan Stow’s lawsuit that says the Dodgers and their former owner should be liable for the brain injuries and permanent disability that Giants fan Bryan Stow received following the 2011 opener between the Giants and the Dodgers. Two Dodger fans, who pled guilty, beat Stow in the parking lot as he walked to catch a cab. The Giants beat the Dodgers in the game. The Giants and Dodgers are longtime rivals. Stow, a paramedic was beaten and left with profound injuries that now require him to have round-the-clock assistance for the rest of his life.
The jury briefly deadlocked on July 2nd saying that they could not reach an agreement on any of the 8 questions. Judge Victor Chavez ordered further deliberations. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Stow and his two children, accused the Dodgers and then-owner Frank McCourt of failing to provide adequate security and lighting in the parking area at the stadium. The lawsuit also said that Stow and his friends had been taunted throughout the game and were blindsided as they walked across the dimly light parking lot. The entire attack went unnoticed by security.
Stow’s attorney argued that McCourt went cheap on security and instead used the money for his own lavish lifestyle.
“The Dodgers’ own pocketbook prevented them from providing proper security,” said attorney Thomas Girardi, pointing out that the team’s security budget amounted to about 62 cents per fan.
The Dodgers’ attorney told the jury that none of that was true. The team had stepped up security specifically for the opener and provided their most robust level of protection during that game to date. Dana Fox, the Dodgers’ attorney, said that Stow, who had been drinking at the game, and his two attackers were the ones responsible for his injuries.
Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood pled guilty to assaulting Stow and are currently serving 4 years and 8 years, respectively, in prison.
Stow was seeking more than $36 million in economic damages for lost earnings and medical expenses, with an additional unspecified sum in pain and suffering compensation. McCourt’s attorneys estimated life care to cost $11 million because the attack decreased Stow’s life expectancy by at least 10 years. The verdict was read at 1:30 p.m. local time in L.A. Court Wednesday. The jury found the Dodgers negligent, but not former owner Frank McCourt.
After 9 days, jurors found that the L.A. Dodgers’ negligence caused “substantial harm” to Stow. The jurors found that former owner Frank McCourt was not negligent in the handling of security the night Stow was beaten into a coma and nearly died. The jury found that the Dodgers were responsible for 25% of damages for pain and suffering. Even though the two men who beat Stow were not part of the lawsuit, the jury found that they bore the rest of the responsibility, 37.5% each. That means the Dodgers were found negligently liable for $18 million related to loss of earnings and medical expenses. The jury did not find that Stow bore responsibility for his own injuries.
It is not clear whether the Dodgers will appeal. If upheld, in theory, Stow should receive somewhere between $15 million and $18 million.
“That’s going to go a long way to helping Bryan,” said Stow’s attorney, Thomas Girardi, “All the medical expenses in the past, all the future medical expenses, all the past loss of earnings and all the future loss of earnings, which is about say $14 million, just in rough terms, the Dodgers…they have to pay all of that. Then, with respect to the pain and suffering — about $4 million or so — they only have to pay 25% of that.”
Since Sanchez and Norwood do not have very much money, Stow realistically could get almost $20 million.