The jurors tasked with deciding whether the Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt were responsible for the brutal 2011 beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow told a judge Wednesday that they were deadlocked, but were ordered to continue deliberating.
Word of the impasse came during the fifth day of deliberations, when jurors told Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Victor Chavez that they could not reach a decision on the first question on the verdict form. Chavez spoke to jurors briefly before sending them back to the deliberation room to continue their discussion.
The jury emerged late Wednesday afternoon for Chavez to answer a question about the relationship between McCourt and the Dodgers organization. Jurors then told Chavez they had another question for the court, which he accepted but did not answer before sending them home for the day.
Attorneys for both parties declined to comment on the content of the second question, which was set to be answered before deliberations resumed Thursday morning.
At the heart of the lawsuit is whether the Dodgers and then-owner McCourt provided proper security and lighting in the parking lot where Stow was beaten unconscious on Opening Day 2011. Stow, a Santa Cruz paramedic and the father of two young children, suffered injuries so severe his attorneys said he will need around-the-clock care for the rest of his life.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Stow and his children, accuses the Dodgers and McCourt of creating a dangerous environment at the stadium.
Stow's attorney, Thomas Girardi, argued that one of the men who attacked Stow had caused trouble inside the stadium throughout the game and should have been kicked out hours earlier. Further, Girardi said, the Dodgers scrimped on stadium security, cutting the number of uniformed police officers and putting budget concerns ahead of fan safety.
But attorneys for the Dodgers said the team had instead stepped up security, offering more protection than on any other Opening Day game in the team's history. They said the fight should ultimately be blamed on the men who attacked Stow: Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, who are serving prison time for the assault.
Jurors were to first decide whether the Dodgers and McCourt were negligent, and if so, how liable each party was. If jurors find the team and McCourt liable, they will also decide how much money will be awarded to Stow and his children.
Stow's attorneys have asked for about $50 million in damages: more than $30 million for his medical costs, plus punitive damages for the team's negligence. Attorneys for the Dodgers argued Stow's medical costs will instead range between $6.5 million and $11 million.