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Jury finds the Dodgers partially negligent, awards $18 million to Bryan Stow

Jul 9, 2014, 5:03 PM EST

Bryan Stow AP

UPDATE: Apparently the allocation of damages is much more complicated than I first assumed. Specifics of California tort law and the old bankruptcy order governing the Dodgers’ liabilities at the time change the calculus here. So, while the $18 million verdict still represents the top that Stow can recover, the Dodgers may be on the hook for as much as $14 million of the jury award.

Wednesday, 5:03 PM: The jury verdict in the Bryan Stow civil case has just come in: the Dodgers were found to have been negligent on Opening Day 2011 when Bryan Stow was brutally beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. The jury awarded $18 million in damages to Stow and his family.

However, the Dodgers will only have to pay a quarter of that $18 million, as they were only found to be 25% of the cause of Stow’s injuries. His attackers, Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, were 75% responsible according to the verdict. Obviously Stow is highly unlikely to ever receive a dime from them as both of them are currently serving lengthy prison sentences.

Notably Frank McCourt, then the Dodgers owner, was not found negligent. McCourt’s not being held personally liable is consistent with the mainstream of premises liability and corporate law which, in the normal course, shields the owners of a company from liability even if the company itself is on the hook. Stow himself was not found contributorily negligent, meaning that the jury did not, contrary to the arguments of the Dodgers, believe that he was responsible for bringing on the attack which injured him. The jury likewise rejected Stow’s claim of punitive damages which means that they did not find that the Dodgers’ acted egregiously our outrageously in failing to provide adequate security at Dodger Stadium that day.

Stow’s expert witnesses estimated that he would need some $50 million in lifetime medical care due to the severity of his injuries. Now he stands to receive, at most, $4.5 million.

Or: between one and two percent of the Dodgers’ annual payroll.

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