May 24, 2011, 2:35 PM EST
2:35 PM: From the “It Was Only a Matter of Time Department” comes the latest news in a sad saga:
The family of Giants fan Bryan Stow is expected to file a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Dodgers today in Los Angeles Superior Court, according to a report from CBS Los Angeles. The suit will allege that the Dodgers are responsible for exposing Mr. Stow to criminal acts of third parties.
With the caveat that I am not a California lawyer, generally speaking, the law is that a business owner owes a duty to patrons to take reasonable steps to secure the premises against foreseeable criminal acts of third parties. The key word there is “foreseeable.” As in if you’re on notice that there is violent hooliganism about and you don’t take reasonable measures to prevent it, you’re gonna be liable when inevitable and unprevented-by-you violent acts take place.
So if you own a big white building and a parking lot which people have been saying have been growing ever more dangerous and violent for years, and then you, I dunno, fail to hire a chief of security for four months despite being aware of these complaints, you may have a bit of a sticky legal problem on your hands.
You know, just for example.
I guess I’d say that no plaintiff ever has a sure thing of winning a suit, so my sense that the Stow family here has a case doesn’t mean they have a win. It simply means the suit would not be frivolous. That said, the more incidents that pile up — and that linked suit was from three years ago — the more “on notice” the Dodgers are of a problem. Indeed, that incident can be used as evidence by the Stows here, as can any others that have since taken place. If there has been no change — or worse, a degradation — in overall security since then, that could be bad for the Dodgers.
And of course, let us not discount the severity of the Stow beating compared to past incidents. Which, while it shouldn’t change the legal calculus, will likely have some effect on a jury if the case gets that far, for they are only human.
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