Local News in Brief : Lakers Fan Won’t Get $540,000 Award

A state appeals court has overturned a $540,000 jury award to a fan who fell from a fence while drunk after a Los Angeles Lakers basketball championship game at the Inglewood Forum in 1982.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the lower court verdict, which found California Sports Inc., owner of the Forum, 27% liable for the accident that left plaintiff Thomas Edwards with severe head injuries. Jurors laid the rest of the blame on Edwards and set damages at $2 million, meaning California Sports would have had to pay $540,000.

Edwards had argued that the company was negligent because the 4-foot-tall fence had horizontal bars, likened to a ladder, that made it easy to climb.


The court rejected that argument and noted that testimony showed Edwards was drunk when he climbed the fence and fell.

“One can conjure up all manner of extreme measures which might have prevented this particular injury, but that is not the issue,” Justice Lynn Compton wrote for the court. “There is a limit as to how far society should go by way of direct governmental regulation of commercial and private activity . . . in order to protect individuals from their own stupidity, carelessness, daring or self-destructive impulses.”