July 20, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Stalemate Reported in Trial Between Former Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt and Giants Fan Bryan Stow

 

The trial between McCourt and Stow started a sixth day of deliberation today.
The trial between McCourt and Stow started a sixth day of deliberation today.

Jurors in the trial of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow’s negligence lawsuit against former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt began a sixth day of deliberations today, even though they say they’re hopelessly deadlocked.

The jurors reported the stalemate Wednesday, saying they had not been able to reach consensus on a single question on the verdict form.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victor Chavez spoke to the attorneys in the trial in his chambers several times to discuss the impasse. He also asked jurors if there was anything he or the attorneys could do to help break the deadlock, but he was met with silence.

Chavez suggested the possibility of further arguments from the attorneys, got no response and ordered the jury to keep talking.

The lawsuit against McCourt and the business entity he created — Los Angeles Dodgers LLC — stems from a beating that Stow, a Santa Cruz paramedic wearing Giants gear at the time, suffered at the hands of Rialto residents Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on March 31, 2011. The current owners of the Dodgers are not involved in the suit and face no liability.

Stow was punched from behind by Sanchez after the 2011 home opener between the Dodgers and their longtime rivals. Sanchez and Norwood then kicked Stow, a father of two, after he fell to the ground. The attack left Stow suffering from permanent brain damage and confined to a wheelchair.

Stow’s attorneys maintain security was insufficient and that no officers or guards were present in parking lot 2 when Stow was attacked. They say Sanchez and Norwood should have been ejected from Dodger Stadium hours earlier for unruly behavior and that more uniformed security at the stadium could have deterred their misconduct.

McCourt’s attorneys say the team spent more money on opening day security in 2011 than in previous years and that the attack on Stow happened so fast, security personnel would have had to have been right there as it developed in order to prevent it.

Sanchez, 31, and Norwood, 33, pleaded guilty in January to carrying out the attack on Stow and were sentenced to eight- and four-year terms, respectively. They are also both facing a federal weapons charge that could land them in a federal lockup for up to 10 years.

Stow’s lead attorney, Thomas Girardi, said in closing arguments a week ago today that Stow deserves $36 million in damages plus punitive damages because McCourt put saving money ahead of fan safety.

Girardi said $36 million would cover Stow’s out-of-pocket medical and other expenses and help relieve the burden on his family arising from his care.

Stow also is deserving of more money for his pain and suffering, as well as to punish the defendants for failing to protect him, Girardi said.

Attorneys for McCourt countered that Stow’s medical costs will be only between $6.5 million and $11 million and that Stow was drunk the night he was beaten, antagonizing the assailants and helping to trigger the incident.

Defense attorney Dana Fox said no damages should be awarded because Stow’s attorneys did not prove any liability on the part of McCourt and the team, and he scoffed at Girardi’s suggestion that Stow deserved punitive damages, saying there was no evidence the defendants acted with malice.

Before the jurors went home Wednesday, Chavez answered a question they submitted about the relationship between McCourt and the other defendant, Los Angeles Dodgers LLC.

The forewoman for the panel of six men and six women then submitted one more question. Girardi said it will be addressed before jurors resume deliberating this morning.

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