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Home > Topics > beating

Beating of medic Bryan Stow case now underway

Stow's attorney outlined the case to a packed courtroom, but it was too much for Stow, who is brain damaged from the beating, to attend

By Linda Deutsch
The Associated Press 

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers had insufficient security when San Francisco Giants fanBryan Stow was severely beaten in a Dodger Stadium parking lot after the 2011 opening day game between the California rivals, an attorney told jurors Thursday in opening statements of the trial of a lawsuit seeking damages from the team and former owner Frank McCourt.

The defense countered that there was more security than at any other Dodgers opening day and that responsibility for the injuries lay with the two men who pleaded guilty to the attack and with Stow himself for being intoxicated and exchanging taunts with the assailants.

Stow's attorney, Tom Girardi, outlined his case in a packed courtroom, but his brain-damaged client was not present.

Stow, 45, had observed jury selection from a wheelchair, but Girardi said outside court that it had been too much for the former paramedic from Northern California. He requires constant care, which his lawyers say could cost $50 million over his lifetime.

Girardi said that the Dodgers cut costs by using more non-uniformed off-duty police officers than uniformed officers, who cost more. "The deterrent effect of having an officer in blue means a lot to everybody," he said.

Girardi described a rowdy atmosphere at the game, with a crowd of 56,000 and tempers running high because of the teams' fierce rivalry.

"There was a lot of hostility," he said. "It's different than going to a night at the symphony at the Hollywood Bowl."

During the game, one of Stow's eventual assailants was throwing food and soda at people sitting near him in the stands, Girardi said. "All of the time there was this yelling and screaming and throwing stuff at these nice people there was no security," he said.

Attorney Dana Fox, representing the Dodgers and McCourt, said a capacity crowd was expected and the Dodgers took it seriously.

"The evidence is going to show in this case Mr. Stow was gravely injured because of a testosterone- and alcohol-fueled flash-fire fight in the parking lot," Fox said. "Some of this was caused by Mr. Stow, who consumed a lot of alcohol. He drank liquor and beer before the game and beer during the game."

When Stow arrived at the hospital, his blood-alcohol level was 0.149 percent, and forensics experts will show that at the time of the fight his level was between 0.16 percent and 0.20 percent, Fox said. The legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent.

Girardi earlier told jurors that the Stow's blood-alcohol level as it related to the standard for drunken driving was irrelevant because Stow and his friends had taken a taxi to the stadium and afterward were heading to the street to take another taxi.

Fox, however, contended that "it is not legal to be drunk in public when you can't care for yourself and others."

The defense attorney said the Dodgers had assembled "the largest security force ever for an opening day in their entire history," including 437 officers and security guards, Fox said. The sworn officers included police and California Highway Patrol, and the FBI was also present because an opening day game is considered a potential target for a terrorist threat, he said.

The Los Angeles Police Department and FBI had command posts at the stadium, and the FBI also had cameras, Fox said.

The Dodgers' security cost for that day was $66,604 out of a season-long budget of $2.185 million, he said.

The team's attorney told the jury the only issue was whether the Dodgers acted reasonably or were negligent.

While Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood acted criminally and despicably in attacking Stow, the Dodgers were not responsible for their actions, Fox said.

"If they (plaintiffs) do not prove the Dodgers were a substantial factor in causing the injuries, they lose. The standard in this case is whether my clients acted reasonably," he said.

Witnesses at a preliminary hearing testified that security guards were not present in the parking lot whereStow was beaten and kicked by Sanchez and Norwood. The pair wore Dodgers gear, and Stow wore a Giants shirt.

Associated PressCopyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Sanchez pleaded guilty to one count of mayhem and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Norwood pleaded guilty to one count of assault likely to produce great bodily injury and was sentenced to four years. Both still face unrelated federal firearms charges.

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Charles Phillips Charles Phillips Friday, May 30, 2014 5:47:34 PM Just because the victim was intoxicated, that did not give those two thugs license to assault him to near death. The defense's lawyer is scum. The Dodgers should have had better security in the parking lot. If there had been adequate security the thugs would have been apprehended during or soon after the assault.
Kyle Montgomery Kyle Montgomery Saturday, May 31, 2014 10:10:03 AM So let's blame the stadium/team for the fans actions. Sounds like a typical lawsuit that will be bounced around in court for years for the attorneys to make money on.
Ken Fischer Ken Fischer Saturday, May 31, 2014 12:16:17 PM Where I come from, you don't fight drunks. Prison will teach the two about their personal cowardice.
Lisa Constant Lisa Constant Saturday, May 31, 2014 1:11:02 PM Two quotes I find interesting, both from the Dodgers attorney "Some of this was caused by Mr. Stow, who consumed a lot of alcohol. He drank liquor and beer before the game and beer during the game." Fox, however, contended that "it is not legal to be drunk in public when you can't care for yourself and others." what I find interesting is that they say he was drinking prior to the game and during the game. they are now claiming that he was too intoxicated to care for himself or others. Didn't the vendors at Dodgers stadium still continue to serve Him beer? If they continued to serve Him to the point that they estimate His blood alcohol level was between 0.16 to 0.20 during that attack don't they still share at least some of the responsibility. After all in most states, they are not supposed to serve you if you are visibly intoxicated.
Emma Voberry Emma Voberry Tuesday, June 03, 2014 7:27:00 PM It can not be ascertained that he could not take care of himself and others. Regardless, defense is blaming the victim by intimating that he was committing the crime of public drunkeness, that if indeed he was, was a crime 90 percent of the other fans could have been charged with. But the fact is he committed no crime, was convicted of no crime, and his being intoxicated should have no bearing on this case, except to show even moreso that in such an environment, rife with alcohol, fans need more protection than they were afforded. Horrendous to blame Stow for the terrible attack on him and to try to besmirch his character.

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