LOS ANGELES - A jury on Wednesday found the Los Angeles Dodgers negligent in a 2011 stadium beating that left a baseball fan permanently disabled, ordering the team to pay him some $15 million in civil damages, but clearing the former club owner of liability in the case.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury reached its verdict on the ninth day of deliberations over the lawsuit brought by Bryan Stow, a father of two and former paramedic from Northern California who was assaulted by two men after a season-opening game against the San Francisco Giants.
The six men and six women who heard the case had told the judge as recently as last week that they were unable to reach a verdict, but were ordered to continue deliberating.
The lawsuit alleged that the Dodgers and Frank McCourt, who was the team's owner at the time, were to blame for lax security at Dodger Stadium that Stow said created an unsafe atmosphere where criminals felt emboldened to prey on others.
But defense attorneys argued that blame lay instead with the two men, Louis Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, who pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the attack and were sentenced to prison terms of eight and four years, respectively.
The jury agreed the two men were mostly responsible for the harm caused to Stow but also found that the Dodgers as a team bore 25 percent of the responsibility.
Under the law, the finding of negligence as a substantial factor in the harm Stow suffered rendered the Dodgers 100 percent liable for $14 million in damages awarded to Stow for his economic losses, such as lost earnings and medical bills.
But the Dodgers bear only 25 percent of liability for the additional $4 million awarded for pain and suffering, bringing the total judgment against the team to $15 million.
Stow was seeking $37.2 million for past and future medical care, lost earnings and the college education of his two children. Stow was not at the courthouse for the verdict. His parents said they were thrilled with the outcome.