Dodgers ordered to pay beaten fan $14 million: ‘It’s finally over’
The nearly $18-million awarded to Giants fan Bryan Stow by a jury on Wednesday was “like a big weight” off the shoulders of his family, his mother said outside court.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Ann Stow said after the verdict was read in Judge Victor E. Chavez’s courtroom. “It was like a big weight off of our shoulders. We waited three years to hear that, and it’s finally over.”
After four weeks of testimony and nine days of deliberations, the trial ended with the jury’s 9-3 finding that the Los Angeles Dodgers share responsibility for Stow’s injuries along with Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, who were convicted earlier this year of the assault. Former owner Frank McCourt was found not liable for the March 31, 2011, attack.
The Dodgers are on the hook for $13.9 million of the jury’s verdict, according to the ballclub’s attorney.
Led by attorney Thomas Girardi, the plaintiffs alleged the Dodgers and McCourt were to blame because of shoddy security and poor lighting.
Former Dodgers security personnel also testified that the organization was ill-equipped to handle the massive crowd that arrived for opening day in 2011.
Sanchez, who was witnessed harassing fans and spraying soda on a young couple during the game, should have been kicked out long before he ever encountered Stow in the parking lot, Girardi argued.
But the defense countered that opening day that year marked the then-largest security force in the history of Dodger Stadium. They also presented evidence that the Dodgers had increased spending on security every year.
The real culprits, defense attorney Dana Fox said, were Sanchez and Norwood. Stow’s own intoxication that night was also to blame, he said.
Although the jurors found that the Dodgers shared just 25% of the liability for Stow’s injuries, assigning the rest of the blame to his assailants, the organization is responsible under California law for the entirety of his medical bills and lost earnings. The team is required to pay only a quarter of the more than $5 million that jurors said Stow should receive for his pain and suffering.
The Stows, who have stayed in Los Angeles since May, said they were happy that the jury unanimously found that their son was not negligent that night.
“I held my breath when that came up,” Ann Stow said. “We know Bryan is nothing like the defense portrayed him.”
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