By BILL HETHERMAN
City News Service
On their ninth day of deliberations and exactly one week after proclaiming themselves hopelessly deadlocked, jurors in the trial of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow's negligence lawsuit against former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt reached a verdict today.
The verdict is expected to be read at 1:30 p.m.
The lawsuit against McCourt and the business entity he created -- Los Angeles Dodgers LLC -- stems from a beating that Stow, a Santa Cruz paramedic wearing Giants gear at the time, suffered at the hands of Rialto residents Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on March 31, 2011.
Stow was punched from behind by Sanchez after the 2011 home opener between the Dodgers and their longtime rivals. Sanchez and Norwood then kicked Stow, a father of two, after he fell to the ground. The attack left Stow suffering from permanent brain damage and confined to a wheelchair.
Stow's attorneys maintain security was insufficient and that no officers or guards were present in parking lot 2 when Stow was attacked. They say Sanchez and Norwood should have been ejected from Dodger Stadium hours earlier for unruly behavior and that more uniformed security at the stadium could have deterred their misconduct.
But McCourt's attorneys say the team spent more money on opening day security in 2011 than in previous years and that the attack on Stow happened so fast, security personnel would have had to have been right there as it developed in order to prevent it.
The Dodgers' current owners are not involved in the suit and face no liability.
Jurors in the case had been struggling to reach a verdict, telling Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victor Chavez on July 2 that they were hopelessly deadlocked and had not been able to reach consensus on any of the questions on the verdict form.
Chavez, however, ordered the panel to continue talking.
Sanchez, 31, and Norwood, 33, pleaded guilty in January to carrying out the attack on Stow and were sentenced to eight- and four-year terms, respectively. They are also both facing a federal weapons charge that could land them in a federal lockup for up to 10 years.
Stow's lead attorney, Thomas Girardi, said in closing arguments that Stow deserves $36 million in damages plus punitive damages because McCourt put saving money ahead of fan safety.
Attorneys for McCourt countered that Stow's medical costs will be only between $6.5 million and $11 million and that Stow was drunk the night he was beaten, antagonizing the assailants and helping to trigger the incident.
Defense attorney Dana Fox said no damages should be awarded because Stow's attorneys did not prove any liability on the part of McCourt and the team, and he scoffed at Girardi's suggestion that Stow deserved punitive damages, saying there was no evidence the defendants acted with malice.