San Francisco General Hospital is seeking a $1.2 million reimbursement from the Los Angeles Dodgers for extensive brain trauma care provided to Giants fan Bryan Stow, who was brutally beaten by two Dodgers fans following the March 2011 season-opening game between the two teams.
The hospital joins a bevy of other entities seeking millions of dollars from the team and its former owner, Frank McCourt, in U.S. bankruptcy court. Stow and his family also are suing the team because of what they estimate to be $50 million in lifetime medical expenses caused by the beating, which the suit blames on lax security and dimly lit facilities that McCourt allegedly allowed to persist because of financial difficulties around the time of his messy and well-documented divorce.
The 43-year-old Stow, who has since been transferred to private care facilities and was healthy enough to attend a Giants World Series game last month, has been left with the mental capacity of a 12-year-old, according to his doctors. His case and others could begin to solidify the currently dubious standard for holding sports team owners liable for third-party actions at their events.
After Stow’s beating, San Francisco police began planting officers at Giants and 49ers games, dressed as fans of the opposing team, to arrest would-be aggressors.
In August 2011, Candlestick Park erupted into violence during and after a preseason game between the Niners and the Raiders. The game prompted a still-pending lawsuit last year against the 49ers from a man who was beaten unconscious and his friend, who was shot four times trying to save him from the situation.
Last spring, Assemblyman Mike Gatto of Los Angeles attempted to pass a law requiring that a list be kept for repeat sports-related violent offenders, similar to how soccer hooligans are treated in Europe. But the legislation was watered down to require only that local security numbers be posted around stadiums. The logic was that dialing the local number could prompt a quicker response than simply dialing 911.