Stadium Security Lax in L.A.; Dodgers Liable for Fan Beating

A Los Angeles jury has returned an $18 million verdict in a civil case against the Los Angeles Dodgers and two men over the beating of a San Francisco Giants fan in the Dodger Stadium parking lot back in 2011.

Bryan Stow, a 45 year-old former paramedic from Santa Cruz, attended a Dodgers-Giants game on the night of March 31, 2011. Stow, who was wearing Giants gear, was attacked in the parking lot after the game. He suffered head injuries and was left with permanent brain injuries and lifelong physical disabilities.

The case against the Dodgers rested on allegations that the team didn’t do enough to provide adequate security in and around the stadium on the night of the assault. The jury heard testimony on under-staffed security and poor lighting around the facility, and after nine days of deliberations they agreed (by a 9 to 3 vote) with plaintiffs’ attorneys that the team was negligent and should be on the financial hook for some of the costs of Stow’s ongoing medical care and other losses.

Stow’s assailants, Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, were convicted of criminal assault earlier this year. As part of yesterday’s verdict, the civil jury found the two of them liable, along with the team.

The jury determined that the Dodgers organization was only 25 percent liable for the harm suffered by Snow, but the team will be on the hook for $13.9 million of the $18 million verdict. Why the discrepancy between the fault finding and the dollar amount? It’s a good question, and the Los Angeles Times has the answer: Under California law, regardless of the fault apportionment, the team is responsible for the entirety of Stow’s compensatory damages, meaning his medical bills and lost earnings. But when it comes to non-compensatory damages like pain and suffering, the team is only required to pay its share (a quarter of the more than $5 million that jurors said Stow is entitled to).

Learn more about How Damages Work in a Personal Injury Case.