LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jurors in a high-profile negligence lawsuit against the Los Angeles Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt were asked Thursday to decide who was responsible for a beating that left a San Francisco Giants fan with devastating brain damage.
The case filed on behalf of Bryan Stow was placed in the hands of jurors after closing arguments. They deliberated for three hours and left for the day without reaching a verdict. They were to resume talks on Friday.
Stow’s lawyer Tom Girardi contended the team and McCourt had failed to provide enough security to keep Stow safe at the Opening Day game in 2011 between the state rivals.
“Dodger Stadium got to a place where it was a total mess,” Girardi told jurors. “There was a culture of violence. Beer sales were off the charts.”
He also said, “The only thing Bryan Stow was doing was wearing a jersey that said ‘Giants.'”
Girardi implored the jury to award $37.5 million in damages and double that amount for pain and suffering.
Defense attorney Dana Fox countered that there was more security than at any other Dodgers opening day in history, and no one could have prevented the assault on Stow as he walked to a spot to catch a cab.
He insisted the team and McCourt were blameless and Stow should receive nothing.
“We would be heartless and inhuman not to feel sympathy for Mr. Stow,” Fox said. “These are life-altering injuries.”
However, he reminded jurors they had promised not to let sympathy influence their verdict.
The closing arguments came a day after Stow sat in his wheelchair in court where jurors could see ghastly scars on his head where his skull had been temporarily removed during medical treatment.
Stow, 45, a former paramedic from Northern California, didn’t testify and was not in the courtroom Thursday. His family, however, occupied a front row.
Girardi described him to jurors as one of the nicest people he has represented and said, “We hope to get a little justice out of this.”
Girardi has said Stow has no memory of the catastrophic events and had to be told Wednesday why he was sitting in the courtroom.
Fox insisted that responsibility for the beating in a parking lot belonged to Dodger fans Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, who pleaded guilty to charges filed in the attack.
Fox also cited testimony that Stow’s blood-alcohol level was .18 percent — more than twice the legal limit for driving — and that a witness account of Stow yelling in the parking lot with his arms up in the air.
“There were three parties responsible — Sanchez, Norwood and, unfortunately, Stow himself. There were things Mr. Stow did that put these things in action,” Fox said.
He added, “You don’t get yourself this drunk and then say it’s not your fault.”
Fox showed jurors huge blow-up pictures of Sanchez and Norwood and pointed to them as the culprits. He also noted that Stow has never sued them.
Girardi asserted that there should have been more uniformed police officers at the stadium. If security officers had been on the job, they would have ousted the rowdy Sanchez during the game and there would have been no assault, he said.
Girardi also suggested that the jury assign 100 percent of the fault for the beating to the team.
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