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Stadium security failed to prevent assault, plaintiff alleged

Amount:

$17,914,238

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

California

Venue:

Los Angeles County

Court:

Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles

Injury Type(s):

head-fracture, skull;
head-blunt force trauma to the head; brain-brain damage; brain-subdural hematoma; brain-traumatic brain injury; brain-internal bleeding; other-ventriculostomy; other-physical therapy; other-fine motor skills, impairment;
epidermis-contusion; sensory/speech-communicative impairment; arterial/vascular-hemorrhage; mental/psychological-cognition (memory, impairment);
mental/psychological-concentration, impairment

Case Type:

Premises Liability – Parking Lot; Worker/Workplace Negligence – Negligent Security; Premises Liability – Inadequate or Negligent Security, Amusement Park/Place of Entertainment

Case Name:

Bryan Michael Stow, a disabled adult, by and through his conservators Elizabeth Ann Stow and David Edward Stow; Tyler Stow and Tabitha Stow, minors, by and through their Guardian Ad Litem, Jacqueline Kain; v. Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC, a Corporation; Los Angeles Dodgers, Inc., a Corporation; Dodger Tickets, LLC, a Corporation; Dodger Tickets Manager Corp., a Corporation; LA Holdco LLC, a Corporation; LA Partners LLC, LA Real Estate, LLC, a Corporation; LA Real Estate Holding Company, LLC, a Corporation; Blue Landco, LLC, a Corporation; McCourt LLC, a Corporation; The McCourt Company, LLC, a Corporation; The McCourt-Broderick Limited Partnership, a Corporation; Frank H. McCourt, Jr., a Corporation; Frank McCourt, individually and as owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers; and Does 1 through 100, inclusive,
No. BC462127

Date:

July 9, 2014

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Tyler Stow (Male), 

Tabitha Stow (Female), 

Bryan Michael Stow (Male, 42 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

David R. Lira;
Girardi | Keese;
Los Angeles,
CA,
for
Tyler Stow, Tabitha Stow, Bryan Michael Stow ■ Thomas V. Girardi;
Girardi | Keese;
Los Angeles,
CA,
for
Tyler Stow, Tabitha Stow, Bryan Michael Stow ■ Christopher T. Aumais;
Girardi | Keese;
Los Angeles,
CA,
for
Tyler Stow, Tabitha Stow, Bryan Michael Stow

Plaintiff Expert(s):

H. Fisk;
M.D., Ph.D.;
Neurology;
Los Angeles,
CA called by
David R. Lira, Thomas V. Girardi, Christopher T. Aumais ■ Gil Fried;

Risk Management;
West Haven,
CT called by
David R. Lira, Thomas V. Girardi, Christopher T. Aumais ■ Mary Jesko;
Ed.D., M.S.;
Life Care Planning;
San Diego,
CA called by
David R. Lira, Thomas V. Girardi, Christopher T. Aumais ■ Cuong Ly;
M.D.;
Nephrology;
Laguna Hills,
CA called by
David R. Lira, Thomas V. Girardi, Christopher T. Aumais ■ David Zander;
M.D.;
Internal Medicine;
Laguna Hills,
CA called by
David R. Lira, Thomas V. Girardi, Christopher T. Aumais ■ David Patterson;
M.D.;
Physical Medicine;
Pomona,
CA called by
David R. Lira, Thomas V. Girardi, Christopher T. Aumais ■ Lester Zackler;
M.D.;
Psychiatry;
Sherman Oaks,
CA called by
David R. Lira, Thomas V. Girardi, Christopher T. Aumais ■ Jeffrey Schaeffer;
M.D.;
Neuropsychology;
Los Angeles,
CA called by
David R. Lira, Thomas V. Girardi, Christopher T. Aumais ■ Kendall Wagner;
M.D.;
Orthopedic Surgery;
Fullerton,
CA called by
David R. Lira, Thomas V. Girardi, Christopher T. Aumais ■ Richard Barnes;
C.P.A.;
Economics;
Sacramento,
CA called by
David R. Lira, Thomas V. Girardi, Christopher T. Aumais ■ William Caton, III;
M.D.;
Neurosurgery;
Pasadena,
CA called by
David R. Lira, Thomas V. Girardi, Christopher T. Aumais

Defendant(s):

McCourt LLC, 

Frank McCourt, 

LA Holdco LLC, 

LA Partners LLC, 

Blue Landco, LLC, 

Dodger Tickets, LLC, 

LA Real Estate, LLC, 

Frank H. McCourt Jr., 

Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC, 

The McCourt Company, LLC, 

Los Angeles Dodgers, Inc., 

McCourt College Street, LLC, 

Dodger Tickets Manager Corp., 

LA Real Estate Holding Company, LLC, 

Los Angeles Dodgers Holding Company, LLC, 

The McCourt-Broderick Limited Partnership

Defense Attorney(s):

Dana Alden Fox;
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP;
Los Angeles,
CA,
for
Frank McCourt, Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC ■ Barry Hassenberg;
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP;
Los Angeles,
CA,
for
Frank McCourt, Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC ■ None reported;

for
McCourt LLC, LA Holdco LLC, LA Partners LLC, Blue Landco, LLC, Dodger Tickets, LLC, LA Real Estate, LLC, Frank H. McCourt Jr., The McCourt Company, LLC, Los Angeles Dodgers, Inc., McCourt College Street, LLC, Dodger Tickets Manager Corp., LA Real Estate Holding Company, LLC, Los Angeles Dodgers Holding Company, LLC, The McCourt-Broderick Limited Partnership ■ Daniel L. Martens;
Dal Soglio & Martens LLP;
Valencia,
CA,
for
Frank McCourt, Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC

Defendant Expert(s):

Carol Hyland;
Life Care Planning;
Lafayette,
CA called by
Dana Alden Fox, Barry Hassenberg, Daniel L. Martens ■ David Weiner;
Economics;
Pasadena,
CA called by
Dana Alden Fox, Barry Hassenberg, Daniel L. Martens ■ Thomas Hedge, Jr.;
Psychiatry;
Northridge,
CA called by
Dana Alden Fox, Barry Hassenberg, Daniel L. Martens ■ William Squires;
Event Planning/Safety;
Alexandria,
VA called by
Dana Alden Fox, Barry Hassenberg, Daniel L. Martens

Insurer(s):

ACE Insurance for Frank McCourt and Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC

Facts:

On March 31, 2011, plaintiff Bryan Stow, 42, a paramedic from Santa Cruz, traveled with three friends/fellow paramedics to Dodger Stadium for an Opening Day Game between the host, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the San Francisco Giants. Stow, a Giants fan, was walking in stadium parking lot number two following the 2-1 Dodgers victory when he was punched in the head by Louie Sanchez. While Stow lay on the ground, he was kicked by Sanchez and his friend, Marvin Norwood. Stow subsequently sustained traumatic brain injuries. Bryan Stow, a disabled adult acting by and through his conservators, Elizabeth Stow and David Stow, sued Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC and Frank McCourt, the owner of the Dodgers at the time of the altercation in 2011. Stow also sued other entities associated with the Dodgers and McCourt, by they were ultimately dismissed prior to trial. Thus, the matter proceeded to trial against Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC and Frank McCourt only on the claims of negligence and premises liability. Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC subsequently filed a third-party complaint against Sanchez and Norwood, who had been arrested and criminally charged for the assault of Bryan Stow. Both men pleaded guilty and received prison sentences in February 2014. Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC alleged that Sanchez and Norwood were contributorily liable for the incident. It also sought indemnification from the third-party defendants. Bryan Stow claimed Norwood and Sanchez assaulted him and his friends simply for wearing Giants clothing. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that two security personnel were assigned to lot number two for the post-game, but that they did not arrive in time to either prevent or intervene in the assault. Thus, counsel argued that the incident involving Norwood and Sanchez was due to negligent and inadequate security in both the loge seating area — where Norwood and Sanchez were watching the game — and in lot number two. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that it first became apparent that Norwood and Sanchez were being unruly during the second inning of the game, when they were yelling obscenities and throwing food at a couple wearing Giants clothing. However, counsel contended that despite the inappropriate behavior, neither Norwood nor Sanchez was ejected from the stadium, nor were they approached by security personnel. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that this allowed the men to continue drinking and initiate other altercations before the altercation with Stow in lot number two after the game. Counsel for McCourt and Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC argued that it is impossible to prevent every incident that occurs at a sports stadium with a capacity of 56,000 people. Counsel contended that there was an unprecedented level of security for the Opening Day game, including more than 100 uniformed, on-duty Los Angeles Police Department officers that were deployed in the parking lots following the game. Counsel also contended that there was no knowledge of any improper behavior by Sanchez or Norwood during the game, and that no one reported or complained of any such behavior to the stadium or organization. Thus, Counsel for McCourt and Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC argued that Norwood and Sanchez were at fault for the tragic and unfortunate incident, and that Stow was comparatively at fault since he had a blood alcohol level of between 0.16 and 0.20 at the time of the incident. In addition, counsel presented evidence of Stow instigating the altercation with Sanchez and Norwood by making a loud derogatory comment, followed by yelling and taunting. Stow countered that while he and his friends were drinking at the game, they did so responsibly. He also claimed he did not provoke Norwood and Sanchez, although he conceded that he exhibited inappropriate behavior during the game.

Injury:

Bryan Stow sustained blunt force trauma to his head, consisting of a fractured skull, a brain contusion, a subdural hematoma, and a bilateral frontal, temporal hemorrhage. As a result, he suffered a traumatic brain injury. Stow was subsequently taken by ambulance to an emergency room. The next day, on April 1, 2011, he underwent a partial craniectomy. He then underwent follow-up surgeries to remove an epidural mass and replace the cranioplasty implant. Stow has been receiving ongoing physical and mental therapy, as he is now permanently disabled and receiving social security. He claimed he suffers significant cognitive deficits involving his fine motor skills, communication skills, retention, concentration, and memory. He also claimed his mobility has been affected, causing him to use a wheelchair at times. Stow’s family and peers described him as a respected paramedic in the Santa Cruz community. However, Stow claimed that he will never being able to work again. He also claimed he can no longer do everything he used to enjoy doing and will need for home health care. Thus, Stow sought recovery of $4.6 million in past medical costs, between $14 million to $32 million in future medical costs/life care plan for his continued treatment and need for home health care, and between $2.05 million to $2.6 million in total lost earnings. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Stow’s ex-wife, Jacqueline Kain, acting as theguardian ad litem for their children, Tabitha Stow and Tyler Stow, initially brought a derivative claim for her children’s loss of consortium. However, since California does not allow minors to recover for loss of consortium, the claim was dismissed early on in the case. Counsel for McCourt and Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC argued that Bryan Stow’s future medical costs/life care plan was only $4.5 million.

Result:

The jury found that McCourt and Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC were 25 percent at fault for the incident and that Norwood and Sanchez were each 37.5 percent at fault. It also found that Bryan Stow’s damages totaled $17,914,238, including $12,564,238 in total economic damages and $5,350,000 in total non-economic damages. Based on the liability of McCourt and Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC, the award for Stow’s total non-economic damages was reduced to $1,337,500. However, McCourt and Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC, and Norwood and Sanchez were joint-and-severally liable for Stow’s economic damages, so McCourt and Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC were liable for the full economic damages award. Thus, Stow’s total recovery would be $13,901,738.

Bryan Michael Stow: $4,650,871 Personal Injury: Past Medical Cost; $5,500,000 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost; $355,999 Personal Injury: Past Lost Earnings Capability; $2,057,368 Personal Injury: Future Lost Earnings Capability; $1,750,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering; $3,600,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering

Actual Award:

$13,901,738

Trial Information:

Judge:

Victor E. Chavez

Demand:

$75 million

Offer:

None reported

Trial Length:

6
 weeks

Trial Deliberations:

9
 days

Jury Composition:

6 male/ 6 female

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s and defense counsel.