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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Jury selection begins in Giants fan Bryan Stow’s civil suit against Dodgers

The 100 prospective jurors in court Tuesday were given a six-page questionnaire to fill out, with questions such as “What is your opinion if any of Frank McCourt?”

My answer would surely have gotten me disqualified.

Seriously, I would like to see McCourt take it in the shorts as much as anyone but can they really get him on this?  The Dodger parking lot is a vast, chaotic free-for-all filled with drunk scumbags.  On a good day.  It would take a small army to effectively police.  You certainly accept some risk when you decide to leave your house, no one can or should be charged with your personal protection anywhere else.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: May 29, 2014 at 04:27 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodger stadium, frank mccourt, legal

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   1. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: May 29, 2014 at 06:55 AM (#4715149)
I ain't got nothing against Frank McCormick.
   2. Swedish Chef Posted: May 29, 2014 at 07:14 AM (#4715151)
The Dodger parking lot is a vast, chaotic free-for-all filled with drunk scumbags. On a good day.

Do they say that in their marketing materials? Maybe they should. Or limit the crowds to a level they can handle. Providing basic security isn't rocket science.
   3. depletion Posted: May 29, 2014 at 08:33 AM (#4715163)
It is if the bad guys have ICBM's.
   4. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 29, 2014 at 08:46 AM (#4715167)
This is just going to suck all around. Lots of "blame the victim" stuff from the defense (which is the right defense but sucks) and lots of coverage of the less savory aspects of sports fandom none of which is going to restore Bryan Stow to his pre-beating self.

The outcome of this will be more useless security that doesn't actually keep anyone safe. I was thinking about this last night as I went to the Red Sox game and had to stand in line to get "wanded" to make sure I wasn't carrying something horrible like a pressure cooker bomb or worse yet, a bottle of soda I brought from outside. I had considerably more people around me standing in the crowded herd of people waiting to get into the ballpark than I had sitting at my seat if mayhem was my primary goal but I got wanded because some lawyer told the Sox they needed to do that to avoid getting sued.

Just sucks.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 29, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4715183)
The outcome of this will be more useless security that doesn't actually keep anyone safe

I don't know if this is true. It would seem that better lighting and more security and police patrols of the parking lots would actually improve safety and help prevent this type of situation.
   6. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 29, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4715207)
I agree with Snapper. It is possible to provide actual security to places by having security people monitoring and patrolling them.

This would bear no resemblance, of course, to the procedures we have to go through when entering a large building, where we are deemed not a threat by being forced to stand in giant lines so a bored person can open our bags and look in them for one second.
   7. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 29, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4715211)
If the outcome of this sort of thing was what snapper suggests I would agree. The problem is for everyone good solution there are going to be at least ten useless things that come out of it. I've been to one Dodger game in my life with the SABR convention a couple of years ago so I don't know how big a problem the parking lots there are/aren't. If they need to do something like this then yes of course they should do it.
   8. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 29, 2014 at 10:52 AM (#4715216)

I'm guessing Stow will win big, given the locale and the unpopularity of Frank McCourt, but statistically speaking, the Dodgers parking lots, even before the beefed up security, were among the safest places in Los Angeles. I don't see how the Dodgers, or any private business, could or should be expected to provide better security than the police provide.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 29, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4715221)
I'm guessing Stow will win big, given the locale and the unpopularity of Frank McCourt, but statistically speaking, the Dodgers parking lots, even before the beefed up security, were among the safest places in Los Angeles. I don't see how the Dodgers, or any private business, could or should be expected to provide better security than the police provide.

Lots of private organizations provide better security than the police. That's the whole purpose of private security.
   10. tshipman Posted: May 29, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4715225)
I'm guessing Stow will win big, given the locale and the unpopularity of Frank McCourt, but statistically speaking, the Dodgers parking lots, even before the beefed up security, were among the safest places in Los Angeles. I don't see how the Dodgers, or any private business, could or should be expected to provide better security than the police provide.


I would think that violent crime in baseball stadium parking lots should be overwhelmingly lower, shouldn't it?

You've got a bunch of people who are generally middle-class, capable of paying roughly $100, and you should have good lighting and a security presence (to collect $$ for parking).

I don't remember all the particulars about the case, but wasn't there a sustained pattern of lower spending on security by the McCourts?
   11. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: May 29, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4715226)
I don't even think security in the parking lots was a huge problem. Of course, seeing security folks drive around in a brown 1989 Chevy Astrovan was always a crack up. I think what happened is that they let so much stuff just go in the stadium that it spilled out into the parking lots later on. Towards the end of the McCourt years, Dodger Stadium wasn't always a pleasant place to be.
   12. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 29, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4715317)
Lots of private organizations provide better security than the police. That's the whole purpose of private security.

I said businesses shouldn't be expected to provide better security than the police.

On the day in question, the Dodgers had combined with the LAPD to provide the largest security force ever provided at a Dodgers game.

***
I would think that violent crime in baseball stadium parking lots should be overwhelmingly lower, shouldn't it?

Of course, but I wasn't just talking about the homicide rate. During the McCourt years, 20 million or more people visited Dodger Stadium. Dodgers fans generally dislike the parking lots because of the congestion and long waits, but there wasn't a pattern of people being assaulted, and it's pure speculation that a few more security guards and/or better lighting would have prevented this incident. Indeed, similar and worse incidents have occurred elsewhere, from the streets outside AT&T Park to the Carrier Dome. Frankly, as much as what happened to Stow was awful, this wouldn't have become such a huge and continuing story if Frank McCourt wasn't so unpopular.
   13. God Posted: May 29, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4715705)
The Dodger parking lot is a vast, chaotic free-for-all filled with drunk scumbags. On a good day.


I'm sorry, but as someone who's attended dozens of games there over the past few years, I've got to say this is complete nonsense. The parking lot at Dodger Stadium is fine. It's like the parking lot at any other big sports stadium. It's not menacing, scary, or dangerous. It has that reputation now because of Stow, but that image isn't really true and never has been.
   14. SOLockwood Posted: May 29, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4715725)
The suit is against the Dodgers, not McCourt personally, correct? Now that McCourt is no longer affiliated with the team, would he be affected by any judgement?

If I was the defense attorney, I'd certainly try to make that point during the trial.
   15. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: May 29, 2014 at 06:28 PM (#4715732)
The suit is against the Dodgers, not McCourt personally, correct? Now that McCourt is no longer affiliated with the team, would he be affected by any judgement?


As part of the sale, McCourt assumed all liability for this incident. I imagine that it is still covered by whatever insurance the Dodgers had. Of course, if there is a judgment against McCourt I imagine the insurance company will refuse to pay and there will be another lawsuit.
   16. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: May 29, 2014 at 08:16 PM (#4715780)
It's not menacing, scary, or dangerous. It has that reputation now because of Stow, but that image isn't really true and never has been.

Especially not after that dude was dragged out of his car by four Mexicans and beaten. The team hires LAPD to walk around in opposing team jerseys. I'm sure they do the same thing in Seattle.
   17. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: May 29, 2014 at 10:57 PM (#4715890)
a vast, chaotic free-for-all filled with drunk scumbags.

You say that like it's a bad thing.
   18. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: May 29, 2014 at 11:32 PM (#4715907)
it's pure speculation that a few more security guards and/or better lighting would have prevented this incident

Well, obviously. This sort of speculation is at the core of tort law.

I imagine that it is still covered by whatever insurance the Dodgers had.

Yes but there would be a single-incident cap on that insurance and since it's death we're talking about it the judgment could very well blow past that limit.
   19. tshipman Posted: May 30, 2014 at 12:36 AM (#4715926)
Of course, but I wasn't just talking about the homicide rate. During the McCourt years, 20 million or more people visited Dodger Stadium. Dodgers fans generally dislike the parking lots because of the congestion and long waits, but there wasn't a pattern of people being assaulted, and it's pure speculation that a few more security guards and/or better lighting would have prevented this incident. Indeed, similar and worse incidents have occurred elsewhere, from the streets outside AT&T Park to the Carrier Dome. Frankly, as much as what happened to Stow was awful, this wouldn't have become such a huge and continuing story if Frank McCourt wasn't so unpopular.


I agree with your main point (that what happened to Stow was more like a lightning strike rather than an obvious outcome).
I don't know if I agree with your secondary point. Obv, it didn't help that McCourt was such a flagrant jackass, but I think what made the story resonate were the photos of Stow and the interviews with his family. It was also an exceptionally easy story to communicate (man wears the opposing team's hat, gets put in a coma), and it had a feel-good follow-up, that it was very popular. I think it certainly helped to have McCourt as the villain, but it could very well have been a big deal with any owner.

Edit: the real message IMO is that beyond missing white girls, it's hard to predict what becomes a big story and what doesn't.

As part of the sale, McCourt assumed all liability for this incident. I imagine that it is still covered by whatever insurance the Dodgers had. Of course, if there is a judgment against McCourt I imagine the insurance company will refuse to pay and there will be another lawsuit.


This amuses me. Sure, we'll pay two billion, but you have to assume liability for a six figure lawsuit!
   20. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: May 30, 2014 at 01:24 AM (#4715933)
Yes but there would be a single-incident cap on that insurance and since it's death we're talking about it the judgment could very well blow past that limit.


Stow is not dead, but the point about the cap is a good one.

This amuses me. Sure, we'll pay two billion, but you have to assume liability for a six figure lawsuit!


They are asking for $35+ million. If this was over $500k or whatever it would have been settled long ago. Also, if you were the new owner would you want your name attached to this and have to spend countless hours with lawyers going over this stuff?
   21. bads85 Posted: May 30, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4716093)
E
specially not after that dude was dragged out of his car by four Mexicans and beaten.


He wasn't dragged out of his car. He jumped out and got in a Mexican's face, despite having a pregnant wife in the car. The Mexican beat his ass, then the Mexican's buddies jumped out of another car and joined in. It was two years ago. Sure, it was not a pleasant situation by any stretch of the imagination, but your characterization is way over the top as things like this are rare.
   22. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4747319)
BREAKING:Jury finds the Dodgers negligent.
   23. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 09, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4747356)

It's being reported as a win for Stow, but it seems like more of a win for the Dodgers and McCourt.

Verdict is for $18 million, barely a third of what Stow's lawyers sought, but the Dodgers only have to pay 25 percent of it (and McCourt none of it), while the two assailants are on the hook for the other 75 percent (which, obviously, Stow will never collect, unless they win PowerBall or something).

I don't know how the lawyers' fees work in this case (i.e., recoverable separately or paid out of the proceeds), but between those and Stow's existing medical bills, there might not be a lot left from the $4.5 million the Dodgers have to pay (assuming they or Stow don't appeal).

Sad case, all around. I expected a much bigger verdict, not on the merits but based on juror sympathies and antipathy toward McCourt.
   24. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: July 09, 2014 at 05:37 PM (#4747389)
LA Times story

So after the lawyers' take their cut Stow probably ends up somewhere south of $3 million?
   25. McCoy Posted: July 09, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4747395)
Which is a pretty good hall. At least his family won't having crippling debt hanging over their heads.
   26. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: July 09, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4747416)
Which is a pretty good hall. At least his family won't having crippling debt hanging over their heads.


They claim to have already spent $5 million on medical expenses so they might still be pretty deep in the red.
   27. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 09, 2014 at 08:17 PM (#4747577)
From the link in #24, which may have been updated:
Based on the verdict, the Dodgers will have to pay about $13.9 million, said team attorney Dana Fox. The team is on the hook to shoulder all of his past and future medical expenses and lost earnings, but 25% of the sum jurors found Stow should receive for his pain and suffering. Sanchez and Norwood each will be responsible for 37.5% of that sum. [emphasis added]

As I understand it from a brief description elsewhere, "joint and several liability" applies to the economic damages, allowing Stow to collect from any of the Defendants, meaning the Dodgers, since the individual defendants likely can't pay. Only the non-economic damages - the pain & suffering - are subject to the 25% limit.
   28. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: July 09, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4747589)
Yeah looks like they updated it and are now saying that the Dodgers are liable for about $15 million in damages.

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