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California Jury Finds the Dodgers Liable in the Beating of Brian Stow


March 31, 2011, was the opening day for baseball season in Los Angeles. Bryan Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan, attended a game at the L.A. Dodger's stadium. As he was walking through the parking lot after the game, he was attacked by two Dodgers fans, Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood. Sanchez first approached Stow and struck him in the head from behind. Stow was a paramedic, and so were the friends that accompanied him to the game. These friends described what happened after Stow was initially hit.

Negligent Security

He "immediately lost consciousness and fell sideways to the ground without breaking his fall." When his head hit the ground his friends "heard his head impact the concrete and saw it bounce." Sanchez and Norwood then proceeded to kick Stow multiple times in the head, while Stow's friends tried to intervene and shield him from further injuries. Stow was left with severe brain damage, and his tongue was lacerated and lost function. His eye, nose, ear, and lips were also lacerated, and he was left with severe scarring. Sanchez and Norwood plead guilty in February of this year. Sanchez was smirking during his sentencing, prompting the angry judge to admonish him. Sanchez was sentenced to 8 years in prison, and Norwood was sentenced to 4 years. Federal authorities say they plan to bring separate charges against the men for unrelated weapons possession.

Stow's civil trial against the Dodgers concluded on July 10th. Stow's lawyers argued that the Dodgers failed to have proper security procedures and staff in place on the day of the attack. Security guards testified that they were short staffed that day. One security guard stated that it was "the first security job that I worked where there really wasn't any order to how things should be done as far as my safety, and the protection of the fans."

During the trial, the current head of security testified that he resigned from his job for a year because he felt that the team needed more off-duty police officers in place, in addition to the team's security guards. The defense tried to blame Stow, who had been drinking throughout the game, and they also claimed that the security team had proper protocols in place to protect fans on the day of the attack. At the end of the trial, the jurors chose to award $18 million to Stow and found the Dodgers to be 25% negligent for his injuries.

Carlos Munoz, a juror from Rosemead, California, said that the team's security personnel "did have a plan, but somewhere along the line that plan broke. And it needed to be fixed. Hopefully we helped to fix it. If you're going to own a stadium, do it right." In the end, the team will likely only pay about $5 million dollars of the judgment, which the family says they will somehow make work for Stow's around-the-clock care, his daily physical therapy, his medication, and his future medical treatment. Stow still suffers seizures as a result of the brain damage and is unlikely to ever make a full recover. Even during the trial Stow had to be continually reminded why his parents were away for weeks on end for the proceedings. He will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He cannot bath or dress himself. He does not even comprehend what the trial was about. Nevertheless, Stow's family was satisfied that the Dodgers were held liable for their son's injuries. His father said, "he's not going to be 100%, maybe for a long time, maybe never. What he gets [from this judgment] is going to help him through now, and that's what he needs."

At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, & Siegel, P.C., we have helped many clients win compensation for brain injuries ranging from mild traumatic brain injuries to severe traumatic brain injuries. The effects of these injuries can be devastating and are often lifelong. We understand the complex nature of TBI cases, we will ensure that our clients receive the specialized medical treatment needed to address such injuries, and we will see the case through to litigation if necessary, no matter if it is the result of a car accident, truck accident, or medical malpractice. Please call our firm if you or a loved one have any questions about a brain injury case.