The fallout continues from the beating suffered by Bryan Stow in 2011 at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. Stow, wearing San Francisco Giants gear, was attacked by Dodgers fans on opening day in 2011 and suffered traumatic brain injury. Major League Baseball conducted its own investigation of the incident and a report given to Stow’s attorneys this week states that a culture of apathy existed among game day ballpark employees.
Since the attack, two men have pleaded guilty for their roles in the beating. Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood are serving time for their actions. In addition, Stow’s family has filed a civil suit against the team for lack of adequate security to prevent the savage beating. Stow was kicked in the head after going down as his price to pay for wearing Giants colors at the LA club’s home field. The civil suit has a trial date of May 27 and attorneys are in full scramble mode to prepare their cases.
Unbeknownst to the plaintiffs in the action until recently, MLB conducted its own investigation of the club’s home field security measures. Having been apprised of its content on the eve of trial, Stow’s attorneys have requested that the court allow additional discovery related to the Major League Baseball report. Specifically, the lawyers want to depose the author of the report in order to obtain more information regarding the import of certain specific security criticisms leveled and why a determination was made that a culture of apathy existed. The attorneys hope that additional information gleaned from the deposition would create more evidence to use against the Dodgers at trial.
One particular criticism noted in the report was the decision by the club to require police officers to wear Dodgers jerseys instead of police uniforms. The concern is that the fans in attendance would have less respect for officers out of uniform. While unclear how this criticism of the Los Angeles club would necessarily have prevented the beating of Bryan Stow, the Dodgers will continue to have security issue fallout while the civil case continues its march toward a final outcome. The report also criticized inadequate lighting and outdated security cameras.
In a brief filed with the court, lawyers for the team noted that the security force in place for opening day in 2011 was the largest ever for the ball club. The number of security personnel present constituted one officer for each 124 attendees. This level of security far surpassed the number of officers in the police department for each citizen of the city. While noting the fact that the security force was more than 10 times that available to the population at large might help put the number of security personnel in a positive context, the number of cops on the street per citizen does not need to be as high as the security presence in a ballpark filled with beer swilling fans. The situations are not the same.
Mr. Stow’s attorneys have estimated that his lifetime care will cost about $34 million. The responsibility for payment of any judgment in the event Stow wins is unclear. The team has insurance coverage and the plaintiff’s attorney believes that the source of payment would the insurers and the McCourt family, not the current ownership team which includes Magic Johnson. Regardless of who may pay if Bryan Stow’s team wins, the fallout from his savage beating will continue for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Commentary by William Costolo