Attorney challenges former Dodger owner over fan safety - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Attorney challenges former Dodger owner over fan safety

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Urging a jury to reject what he called the "anybody but McCourt" defense, an attorney for a San Francisco Giants fan who was attacked at Dodger Stadium said Thursday his client deserves more than $36 million in damages because former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt put saving money ahead of fan safety on opening day 2011.

In his closing argument in trial of Bryan Stow's negligence lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, lawyer Thomas Girardi said the law does not allow McCourt to delegate security responsibilities to others.

"It's his ballgame, he has to keep that property safe," the lawyer said.

Girardi said the California Highway Patrol and the FBI had other responsibilities and were not there to prevent the types of violent crime that happened to Stow, who suffered permanent brain damage when attacked by two Dodger fans in a stadium parking lot.

He said the Dodgers made a mistake in not having more off-duty LAPD officers wearing regular uniforms rather than polo shirts when working security at Chavez Ravine.

"Maybe the presence of a man in blue would stop some of the nonsense," Girardi said.

Stow, in Giants gear, was punched from behind by Dodger fan Louie Sanchez after the home opener between the Dodgers and their longtime rivals on March 31, 2011. Sanchez and his friend, Marvin Norwood, then kicked the Northern California father of two after he fell to the ground.

Stow's attorneys maintain security was insufficient inside and outside the stadium and that no officers or guards were present in lot 2 when Stow was attacked. They also say Sanchez and Norwood should have been ejected from Dodger Stadium hours earlier for unruly behavior and that more uniformed security within the stadium could have acted as a deterrent to their misconduct.

"Isn't this disgusting?" Girardi asked. "This was supposed to be fun. This guy was just going to a game."

Girardi said the defense's stadium management expert, William Squires, ended up providing testimony favorable to Stow when he said the Dodgers were following protocol when they assigned two people to lot 2. The problem was that the personnel were not present when Stow was attacked, Girardi said.

The Dodgers' "whole leadership was in disarray" at the time, Girardi said. The former vice president of security, Ramon Maytorena, testified that the team executive in charge of fan protection that night, Francine Hughes, did not have sufficient experience, Girardi said.

Girardi said the $36 million would cover Stow's out-of-pocket medical and other expenses and help relieve the burden on the former paramedic's family to provide him care. But 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.

Rialto residents 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.

Defense attorneys say Sanchez, Norwood and Stow are to blame for his injuries. They assert Stow was drunk, gestured toward his assailants and made sarcastic remarks.

Girardi said, however, that police found no evidence Stow antagonized his assailants.Stow, 45, of Capitola, was not present in court.

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