Baseball fans love the arrival of spring; going to the game, sitting in the stands, cheering on your favorite team, enjoying hot dogs and popcorn, and the general camaraderie of others who share your passion. For many, there is no better way to spend a spring afternoon. That was the case for Bryan Stow, Louie Sanchez, and Marvin Norwood; three men whose lives were forever changed after the March 31, 2011 game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan, wore his jersey to show support for his team. It has been reported that throughout the game Stow had several drinks. It was also reported that there was a verbal altercation with Sanchez and Norwood – Los Angeles Dodgers fans. The game ended, and as the men were leaving the stadium, the verbal interchange escalated to a physical fight in the parking lot where Sanchez and Norwood were witnessed punching and kicking Stow while he was on the ground. Stow, a former paramedic, spent the next two years in the hospital and was left with brain damage.
Initially, Stow sought $37.5M to cover costs associated with lifetime care and lost earnings. The jury deliberated for nine days and handed down the $18M verdict to be split amongst attackers Sanchez and Norwood and the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Sanchez and Norwood – both currently serving prison terms for the assault – are each responsible for 37.5 percent for administering the beating and the LA Dodgers organization responsible for 25 percent for their failure to provide adequate security in the parking lot.
It was presented during the trial that the team allotted approximately 62 cents per person for security for the opening day game against the rival teams. Attorneys for the stadium also argued that Stow contributed to his own demise because he was drinking and registered .18 on a Breathalyzer test – twice the legal limit. Witnesses to the attack reportedly heard Stow tell his assailants he didn’t want any trouble and witnessed him being punched in the head by one attacker then kicked in the head by the other while he was on the ground.
A day of fun and a supposed friendly rivalry quickly turned tragic for all involved in this case. Of special note are the stiff penalties to be paid. For their roles, Sanchez was sentenced to eight years in prison, and Norwood sentenced to four as well as their portions of the $18M verdict. The Dodgers organization must pay millions of dollars to Stow due to their alleged negligence.
The larger takeaway for the Dodgers and other stadiums around the country is that there is a responsibility to take serious steps to ensure ample security is in place during and after games, and in all areas of the venue, to lessen the likelihood of future similar incidents.
The attorneys at Steinger, Greene & Feiner have seen what can happen when appropriate measures aren’t taken and people get hurt. If you have been injured and want an expert to review your case and present you with options, our attorneys are here to help you. Contact us for a free case evaluation. We are here to get you the compensation you deserve while you concentrate on your physical recovery.