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Lawyer For Man Beaten At Dodger Stadium Says Team Failed To Provide Enough Security

By Corina Knoll, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Bryan Stow would not be confined to a wheelchair, would not need 24-hour care, would not bear scars on his head had the Los Angeles Dodgers put more money into security at Dodger Stadium, his attorney said.

In his opening statement Thursday in the trail of a lawsuit filed on behalf of Stow and his two children, Thomas Girardi accused the team of whittling down the quality of its security staff, thereby creating an environment where Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan, could be attacked on opening day when the crowd numbered 56,000.

“There is a great deal of hostility in games like this,” Girardi said. “There is a difference in going to the Hollywood Bowl and watching a night of the symphony versus going to one of these games.”

The lawsuit accuses the Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt of failing to provide proper security and lighting on the night Stow was beaten unconscious. Stow suffered severe brain injuries that required part of his skull to be removed.

The paramedic had driven with friends from Santa Cruz for the March 2011 game. Wearing Giants gear, the group was taunted during the game.

Girardi said no usher was present in their section that night and that just 19 uniformed Los Angeles police officers were inside the stadium.

After the game, Stow was severely beaten in a Dodger Stadium parking lot. The two security guards that should have been in Parking Lot 2 were absent, Girardi said. The Dodgers had an obligation to make sure the area was reasonably safe, he said.

“But it costs money,” he said.

An attorney for the Dodgers said the team had actually increased its spending for security on opening day in 2011 to $66,604, nearly $15,000 more than the previous year.

In fact, Dana Fox said, the largest security force ever for opening day at Dodger Stadium was on hand. The blame, he said, should be placed on Marvin Norwood and Louie Sanchez, the Rialto residents who pleaded guilty to the attack earlier this year.

“They caused the injuries, it doesn’t matter that they’ve already gone through the criminal justice system,” Fox said. “They still need to be held accountable in a civil court.”

A cross-complaint was filed by the defendants against Norwood and Sanchez. Fox also noted that Stow had been observed delivering his own taunts and that a toxicology report revealed his blood alcohol level was as high as 0.2 percent at the time of the altercation.

He called it a “testosterone- and alcohol-fueled flash fire fight” involving “men in a parking lot who exchanged words and then didn’t let it go.”

Fox also noted the Dodgers’ fan code of conduct, which is displayed in a video played at the game. It directs fans to contact an usher if someone is disturbing them and also provides a hotline number, as well as a phone number to text a complaint.

Calling Stow’s injuries tragic, the attorney reminded the jury that they would witness emotion on the stand.

“But you all committed to setting aside sympathy when it comes to this case,” he said.

Photo via Wikimedia

Michael Jackson’s Family Pursuing Appeal In Case Against AEG

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES _ Despite being denied a new trial against AEG Live, Michael Jackson’s mother and children will continue to pursue their case against the entertainment powerhouse, which they say was negligent in the pop star’s death, their attorney said Tuesday.

“There are several issues we intend to have the appellate court address related to the verdict form and the law that the jury was instructed on,” Brian Panish said.

Panish said he was not surprised by the ruling handed down Monday that rejected his clients’ request for a new trial. L.A. County Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos had issued a tentative ruling more than a week earlier before listening to arguments from both sides.

Katherine Jackson and her three grandchildren _ Paris, Prince and Blanket _ have 30 days to file an appeal.

The family claims AEG, the promoter and producer of Jackson’s ill-fated “This Is It” comeback tour, negligently hired and supervised Conrad Murray, the doctor who gave the singer a fatal dose of propofol in 2009.

During the five-month trial, witnesses for the plaintiffs depicted AEG executives as ruthless bullies whose greed took precedence over Jackson’s declining health.

The defense countered that Jackson had a history of drug abuse and had pushed to hire Murray.

In October, a jury of six men and six women decided AEG was not responsible for Jackson’s death. Jurors agreed that the company had hired Murray but rejected the second question on the verdict formthat asked whether the doctor was unfit or incompetent, which they said forced them to end deliberations.

Jurors had been asked to award $85 million to each of the pop star’s children and an additional $35 million to his mother. Lawyers also suggested AEG be asked to pay as much as $1.5 billion in economic losses.

No money was awarded and the family filed a motion for a new trial in December.

“Some of the jurors were stunned and upset after learning that we had to stop deliberations after answering ‘no’ to Question 2,” wrote one juror in a declaration filed with the motion.
Another wrote, “I believed that Mrs. Jackson had proven her case against AEG Live. Despite this fact, I had no way of voting in favor of the plaintiffs because of the way the verdict form was worded.”

An attorney for AEG called the motion “an act of pure desperation.”

“Katherine Jackson just can’t accept that her son is gone and that there is no one left that she can blame, well, aside from Dr. Murray,” Marvin Putnam told the Los Angeles Times last month. “The evidence at trial and the verdict told her just that. This long trial showed us _ and her _ that Michael Jackson had abused and demanded propofol, the drug that killed him, for decades.”

Photo: Sharona790 via Flickr