Jurors reached a verdict in a civil trial today finding that the L.A. Dodgers and their stadium were responsible in the egregious 2011 beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow. Stow and his family sued the team for damages to cover Stow's ongoing rehabilitation and care, and this trial follows on the one that ended earlier this year in plea bargains for Stow's two attackers, Marvin Norwood and Louis Sanchez. They are currently serving four- and eight-year sentences, respectively.
As you probably remember, Stow had traveled to Los Angeles with several friends to see an opening-night game between the Giants and the Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium on March 31, 2011. The Santa Cruz resident was brutally assaulted in the parking lot after the game by two drunk Dodgers fans, Norwood and Sanchez, and ended up in a coma with a severe skull fracture and brain injuries. Three years later, at age 45, he remains wheelchair bound and apparently suffers some cognitive disability.
This latest trial lasted four and a half weeks and nearly ended with a deadlocked jury last week, but the judge sent jurors back for further deliberations, as NBC Bay Area reports. In total, jurors deliberated for nine days, and ended up concluding that Stow should receive $17.8 million in compensatory damages to cover medical expenses and loss of employment. The jury found that Stow was not responsible for his own attack, despite being portrayed as drunk and irresponsible by the defense, and that the stadium failed to provide adequate lighting and security following the game. While jurors found that Norwood and Sanchez bore 75 percent of the responsibility for the attack, the stadium was 25 percent responsible.
An attorney for the Dodgers, way back in the fall of 2011, suggested that Stow likely played a role in the fight, saying, "I have never seen [a case like this yet in] which it didn't take at least two people to tango."
Stow, who appeared twice in the courtroom in a wheelchair, did not testify in this or the previous criminal trial.
Reporters outside Los Angeles Superior Court asked Stow's parents how they felt about the verdict, and his father, David Stow, replied, "He did get some money to help his future. He's not going to be 100% for a long time, and maybe never." He added, "It takes a lot to take care of him, and it's more than [his mother] and I can do, so we have to hire people to help."
Stow's mother, Ann Stow, was especially thrilled when the jury concluded that Stow himself was in no way responsible for the events on that night. "I was so excited... None of them attributed any [responsibility] to Bryan, and I was just ecstatic... It's a big weight off of our shoulders."
Tom Girardi, the attorney for Stow's family, said that the verdict should have an impact on sporting venues nationwide. "This is telling people that run stadiums all over the country that you better watch out, and you better protect the people who come there."
Previously: All Bryan Stow coverage on SFist