Jury selection starts in beaten Giants fan lawsuit
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lawyers in the trial of a lawsuit over the beating of a San Francisco Giants fan at Dodger Stadium confronted prospective jurors Tuesday with different stories of what happened at the April 2011 opening-day game between the rival teams.
In brief statements outlining their positions, Bryan Stow’s lawyer said he never touched anyone and was attacked from behind by his assailants because he was wearing a Giants shirt. Attorney Tom Girardi said the Dodgers failed to provide adequate security at the stadium.
But a lawyer for the team and its former owner, Frank McCourt, said the Dodgers and the Los Angeles Police Department provided the single largest security force for a Dodgers game in history.
Witnesses at a preliminary hearing in criminal court told of seeing no security guards in the parking lot where Stow was attacked and bystanders called 911 for help.
Defense attorney Dana Fox blamed Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, who pleaded guilty to the attack in criminal court, for causing Stow’s injuries. But he also said evidence would show Stow was drunk, and the fight started over something he said. Blood evidence would show that Stow’s blood-alcohol level was two times higher than the level for drunk driving, he said.
Stow, who suffered devastating injuries, watched from a specially equipped wheelchair as prospective jurors were instructed to fill out questionnaires. Family members accompanied him to court.
The paramedic from Santa Cruz, California, suffered disabling brain damage in the beating.
Superior Court Judge Victor Chavez allowed lawyers to deliver brief statements to give jurors an overview of their cases. An attorney also read them a long list of names of potential witnesses, including McCourt and his wife, Jamie.
Jury selection is expected to consume the balance of the week.
The civil liability and negligence lawsuit seeks millions of dollars in damages from the Los Angeles Dodgers and former owner McCourt.
Lawyers have estimated that Stow’s lifetime care could cost $50 million.
In a six-page questionnaire, jurors were asked their opinions of McCourt, the unpopular Dodgers owner who sold the team under duress. They were asked how many times they have been to Dodgers or Giants games and whether they ever had a negative experience at Dodger Stadium. The panelists were also asked if they had knowledge of traumatic brain injuries.
Stow, 45, returned home last spring after two years in rehabilitation centers and hospitals. Girardi said he will never be able to work again and requires constant care.
Fox said the evidence would show that the Dodgers “acted reasonably” in preparing for the game between fierce rivals.
“The only parties responsible for his terrible injuries,” said Fox, “are Mr. Sanchez and Mr. Norwood and tragically Mr. Stow.”
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