Jurors tasked with determining whether the Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt were responsible for San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow's brutal 2011 beating were ordered to resume deliberations Thursday after indicating they were deadlocked in the case.
Word of a possible stalemate came in the fifth day of deliberations, when jurors told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victor Chavez that they had not been able to reach a decision on the first question on the verdict form.
Chavez sent the jury back to the deliberation room to continue discussion and met with attorneys in chambers several times late Wednesday afternoon. After answering one question from jurors about the relationship between McCourt and the Dodgers organization, Chavez again sent the jurors back to the deliberation room to finish formulating another question they had for the court.
Chavez accepted the second question but did not address it, instead ordering the jurors back Thursday morning. Attorneys for both parties declined to comment on the content of the second question.
Stow, a Santa Cruz paramedic and the father of two young children, was beaten unconscious in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on Opening Day 2011 and left with such profound injuries that his attorneys say he will require round-the-clock medical assistance for the rest of his life.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Stow and his children, accused the Dodgers and then-owner McCourt of failing to provide proper security and lighting in the parking lot, creating a dangerous environment.
The suit said Stow and his friends had been taunted throughout the game and then were blindsided from behind as they walked across a dimly illuminated parking lot -- all of which went unnoticed by security.
Stow’s attorney argued that McCourt had opted for cheap security, instead funneling money into 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 in attendance.
But the Dodgers' attorney Dana Fox said the opposite was true: The organization had stepped up security and provided the most robust level of protection of any opening day game in team history. Stow himself and his two attackers were ultimately responsible for his injuries, Fox argued.
Fox said Stow and his family should have sought damages from Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, the two men now serving time for the assault, rather than from the Dodgers.
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 are asking for about $50 million in damages: more than $30 million for his medical costs, as well as punitive damages for the team's negligence. Attorneys for the Dodgers argue Stow's medical costs will instead range between $6.5 million and $11 million.
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