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Dodgers using Bankruptcy Court as shield, Bryan Stow lawyers say

Attorneys for the injured San Francisco Giants fan ask that court to yield to Los Angeles Superior Court.

February 22, 2012|By Bill Shaikin
  • San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was severely beaten in a Dodger Stadium parking lot on opening day last year.
San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was severely beaten in a Dodger Stadium… (Beck Difenbach / Reuters )

The Dodgers should not be allowed to use the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to minimize their liability to Bryan Stow, attorneys for the injured San Francisco Giants fan argued Wednesday.

The Dodgers, saying they should not be held liable for an attack they could not have predicted, have asked the Bankruptcy Court to throw out Stow's claim. Wednesday, Stow's attorneys asked the Bankruptcy Court to yield to Los Angeles Superior Court, where they filed a civil suit last May against team owner Frank McCourt, the Dodgers and related entities.

Stow's attorneys said the Dodgers were using Bankruptcy Court as a shield "to try to gain unfair strategic and economic windfalls for ... personal injury litigation defendants and insurers" and argued Stow's claims would be better heard by a Los Angeles jury, with ample time for both sides to exchange documents and conduct depositions.

The filing cited $50 million as a "conservative total estimate" of Stow's damages. His injuries, suffered in an attack in the Dodger Stadium parking lot last March after an opening-day game against the Giants, include traumatic brain injury and limited movement.

"As a result, he is wheelchair-bound and will unfortunately require 24-hour skilled nursing care for the rest of his days," according to the filing.

Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood were arrested in July in connection with the attack and charged with assault and mayhem. The men have pleaded not guilty.

The Dodgers have argued that stadium security was at record levels on opening day and that they had no way to anticipate the attack.

Stow's attorneys submitted sworn declarations from eight other Giants fans in attendance that day, each alleging he or she struggled in finding security personnel to respond to threatening incidents during the game.

They also cited two ballpark incidents that day that involved Sanchez and preceded the attack on Stow, claiming the Dodgers should have ejected him before the game ended.

"Had these feasible measures been taken by the [Dodgers], Bryan Stow would not have been brutally attacked ... and would not have to face a lifelong struggle to regain basic function," according to the filing.

The Dodgers responded to Wednesday's filing with this statement: "Nothing in today's filings by Mr. Stow changes the reality that the Bankruptcy Court has jurisdiction to throw out Mr. Stow's claim in its entirety."

Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross is expected to hold a hearing on the matter March 7.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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