The owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers is trying to pass the buck by claiming in a civil complaint that Bryan Stow and his attackers are to blame for the Opening Day beating that left him brain-damaged.
Owner Frank McCourt filed the counter complaint last week, alleging the beating of Stow at the hands of two fans following the March 31 game was not the fault of the Dodgers franchise or the lack of security at the stadium.
The attorney for McCourt claims alleged attackers Marvin Norwood and Louis Sanchez are to blame and predicted that if the case goes to trial, jurors could decide that Stow himself shares some responsibility.
“One of the things the jury will be asked to do is to determine what percentage of fault various individuals have for this event,” Jerome Jackson, McCourt’s attorney, told ESPN. “You’re saying to the jury, ‘They [the Stow family] are saying we’re 100 percent liable. But does that mean Norwood and Sanchez, who beat this guy up, have no liability? And does it mean Mr. Stow himself has no liability?’”
The counter complaint was filed in reaction to Stow’s negligence and liability lawsuit, filed earlier this year and before Norwood and Sanchez were arrested. The lawsuit only blames the Dodgers organization and owner Frank McCourt for the attack, alleging poor lighting and security problems at the ballpark.
It also said Dodger Stadium has been the site of “more instances of criminal activity” than any other in Major League Baseball. The suit did not specify a monetary amount. Stow’s medical bills are estimated to top $50 million.
The cross-complaint adds Stow’s alleged attackers as defendants.
Jackson said the outrage that ensued after the attack toward McCourt has been misdirected.
“Six weeks ago, ‘Sports Illustrated’ said Stow’s blood alcohol level was 0.176. I believe this is an issue that deserves to be looked at,” Jackson said. “That level drastically impairs judgment and motor skills. To find out how this tragedy occurred, all the facts need to be looked at.”
Stow’s attorney, Thomas Girardi, called the new filing “absurd.”
“There wouldn’t have been a crime if a couple of security people had been there,” Girardi said. “The same people got rid of two-thirds of their security staff, fired security personnel and have more incidents than anybody else in baseball and they say we should be suing these two criminals.”
The civil suit is the Dodgers’ way of not taking responsibility, Girardi said.
Stow, a Santa Cruz resident and father of two, was hospitalized with a brain injury following a beating in the parking lot after the Dodgers and Giants game last spring. He was hospitalized and in a coma for seven months, but since has been transferred to a rehab facility in the Bay Area.
Norwood’s and Sanchez’s next scheduled court appearance is Nov. 4 in Los Angeles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.