Wednesday, June 25, 2014
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A San Francisco Giants fan who suffered brain damage in a beating in a Dodger Stadium parking lot sat front and center Wednesday in a courtroom as testimony wrapped up in a negligence lawsuit against the Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt.
Plaintiff Bryan Stow was brought to court in a wheelchair as jurors listened to a recorded deposition by a security expert.
However, Stow was quickly hustled into a hallway when defense lawyers showed a video of the two men who went to prison for beating him.
Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, who pleaded guilty in the assault, were seen on camera in Los Angeles County jail invoking their Fifth Amendment right not to testify. They refused even to say their names.
Stow's lawyer, Tom Girardi, said outside court that he did not want to risk upsetting his client with the video of his assailants, even though he said the former paramedic has no memory of the events. He said he has had to explain to Stow why he is sitting in court.
The 45-year-old Stow had made a brief appearance in court during jury selection. On Wednesday, he stayed most of the day. With his hair cropped close to his head, jurors could see deep scars where his skull had been temporarily removed during medical treatment.
Stow suffered severe brain damage in the attack by the two Dodgers fans after the 2011 Opening Day game between the California rivals.
The last defense witness was Ramon Mayterena, a former vice president of Dodgers security, who lives out of state and gave his testimony on videotape. He said he was hired after multiple interviews, including one by Jamie McCourt, then the wife of Frank McCourt.
"Mrs. McCourt expressed concern about fights in the stadium," Mayterena testified.
He said he was hired because the team lacked anyone with background in handling security for such a large venue. A former U.S. Secret Service agent, Mayterena said he had handled security for presidential trips.
On the videotaped cross-examination, he said the Dodgers' bureaucratic hierarchy was in disarray and the people who hired him were soon gone and replaced by people with even less security experience.
There were disputes over whether to place uniformed Los Angeles police officers in the stadium, he said, because "a lot of fans had had run-ins with the police."
Many of those fans had tattoos and appeared to be gang members, he said, adding that the arrival of police in uniform at the scene of any dispute would exacerbate the situation.
Attorneys for Stow claim too many security officers merely wore shirts saying "police," which did not carry the authority necessary to discourage fights and rowdy behavior.
Outside court, Stow chatted amiably with family members. Girardi confirmed that he had recently suffered another of the strokes that have beset him since the attack.
Still, the lawyer said Stow was "coming back to where he was" and added, "it was good to see him smile."
Attorneys were due to deliver final arguments on Thursday. The plaintiffs are seeking about $50 million for Stow's lifetime care.