LOS ANGELES -- A San Francisco Giants fan was awarded almost $18 million in damages Wednesday in a civil lawsuit against the Los Angeles Dodgers and two men who attacked him outside of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles three years ago, leaving him with permanent brain damage.
Bryan Stow, 45, was brutally beaten in a stadium parking lot following the season opener between the Giants and the Dodgers on March 31, 2011. He was in a coma for months following the attack.
Stow's family sued the Dodgers, former team owner Frank McCourt and his two assailants for damages in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The lawsuit alleged that the team did not provide adequate security during the heated baseball rivalry.
The civil trial began on May 29 with the family seeking the reimbursement of Stow's medical bills, legal fees, reimbursement of donors to Stow's recovery and other unspecified damages.
Today the jury awarded them nearly $18 million. The Dodgers are responsible for about $15 million of the damages and each of the two attackers -- identified as 31-year-old Louie Sanchez and 33-year-old Marvin Norwood -- are responsible for about $3 million, according to the family's attorney, Thomas Girardi.
Sanchez pleaded guilty to one count of mayhem earlier this year and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Norwood pleaded guilty to one count of assault and was sentenced to four years, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
The case was held up for years as the Dodgers went through bankruptcy proceedings and was transferred to new ownership.
The Dodgers were found to have been negligent in preventing the attack but former owner Frank McCourt was absolved of liability. The former ownership group will have to pay 100 percent of the medical expenses and loss of past and future earnings as well as 25 percent for Stow's pain and suffering, Girardi said.
Norwood and Sanchez each owe 37.5 percent of the $5 million pain and suffering award, but as they are serving prison terms, Girardi said, "I won't hold my breath for a payment from Sanchez and Norwood."
"I'm very, very happy for this family," Girardi said in a phone interview today. "This money is going to go a long way to help the family enormously. It is going to give a little bit of rest to a mom and dad who have been getting out of bed every night to walk him to the restroom."
He said that the Dodgers current ownership, which includes former NBA star Earvin "Magic" Johnson, has already corrected many of the problems that he argued led to Stow's assault, like improving the lighting and adding security patrols.
The suit alleged that Stow, a former paramedic, and his friends were taunted throughout the game because they were Giants fans and that Dodgers team security failed to intervene. Stow sent a text message to his family at about 7 p.m. while the game was still going on expressing concern for his safety.
He left the game after the Dodgers' 2-1 victory and the threats continued outside. The lawsuit alleged that the taxi stand where Stow was standing was dimly lit with no security present. He was attacked and hit in the head multiple times.
It took 10 to 15 minutes for Dodgers security personnel to arrive at the scene, according to the suit.
The Dodgers, "with full knowledge of these dangerous conditions, carelessly cut funds for security forces at Dodger Stadium," the lawsuit said.
Girardi said that he does not know whether the Dodgers will attempt to appeal the verdict, saying that he has not been able to predict what they would do through the process, including that they took the case to trial in the first place.
"Why didn't they do the right thing a long time ago?" he said.
Attorneys for the defendants were not immediately available for comment today.
- BREAKDOWN OF THE DAMAGES:
- $17,913,239 TOTAL DAMAGES