What happened to Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium on opening day in March 2011, leaving him with devastating lifelong injuries, was either a crime of heated passion that was over in a matter of seconds, or a preventable security liability nearly three hours in the making.
Lawyers for Stow, the Santa Cruz paramedic and San Francisco Giants fan who was beaten in the stadium parking lot, and the Dodgers sparred in court Thursday to convince jurors of their version of events, arguing over who should foot the bill for the costly medical care brain-damaged Stow will need for years to come and compensate for his pain and suffering.
Dana Fox, an attorney for the team, said the blame was squarely on Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, the two men who are serving prison terms for attacking Stow. No level of security can prevent any crime from occurring, he said, and it’s his attackers whom Stow and his family should be suing.
“Take them out of the picture, and we’re not here,” he said. “You can speculate all day long about if the Dodgers had done something different.”
But Thomas Girardi, who brought the negligence lawsuit on behalf of Stow and his family, said it was clearly the Dodgers who should bear 100% of the blame.
He said Louie Sanchez had been causing trouble in the stadium beginning in the second inning and should have been kicked out of the game hours earlier. It was the Dodgers’ scrimping on security for their bottom line that led to Stow’s beating, he told jurors.
“The Dodgers’ own pocketbook prevented them from providing proper security,” he said, pointing out that the team’s security budget amounts to about 62 cents for each fan in attendance, while a beer at the stadium costs $10.
The two security personnel who were assigned to work in the parking lot where Stow was attacked hadn’t managed to get to their posts when the attack took place, he said.
“They could’ve stopped it,” he said. “It didn’t happen in a second – it happened for 2-1/2 hours in the game, and four assaults in Lot 2.”
Fox countered that the team had spent more on security on opening day in 2011 than it ever had in the history of the Dodgers. He said Stow's attorney also failed to offer any context to how their 62-cents-a-fan figure compares to the industry average.
Fox also urged jurors to consider Stow’s own responsibility, noting his blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit for driving, and that a witness testified that he saw Stow raising his arms and yelling something in the direction of Sanchez and Norwood.
“There were things that Mr. Stow did that put these events into action," he said.
"Don’t get yourself this drunk and then say, I share no responsibility for what happened.”
Stow’s attorneys have asked for about $50 million in damages, estimating that his medical costs will exceed $30 million over his lifetime and arguing the team should be levied punitive damages for negligence.
The team’s lawyers have contended Stow's medical costs will be far less, somewhere between $6.5 million and $11 million.