- Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Senior Writer
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The family of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow, who was brutally beaten in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day, filed a civil suit against the Dodgers in Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday morning.
The suit seeks unspecified damages to cover Stow's future medical care and as compensation for the economic damages to Stow and his two children. It alleges that Stow was "inappropriately exposed to the aggressive acts of third parties" because the Dodgers "failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the attack on Stow."
"It's fairly simple," said Thomas Girardi, the attorney representing the family. "The Dodgers have shown a total disregard for public safety. They've gotten rid of security people, they've had all these incidents at their games, more than other teams, there's also a known gang presence. What did they think was going to happen?"
According to the lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by ESPNLosAngeles.com, those reasonable steps include, but are not limited to: The presence of uniformed security in the parking lots and near the taxi line area in Lot 2 where Stow was attacked; better lighting in the parking lots for evening and night games; refusing to grant access both inside the stadium and parking lots to known criminals or gang members; promoting responsible consumption of alcohol; and ejection from the stadium of persons exhibiting drunk or disorderly conduct.
"Bryan Stow suffered a devastating injury at the hands of criminals who should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Jerome M. Jackson, an attorney for the Dodgers, said in a statement. "Since the incident, Mr. McCourt and the Dodgers have not wavered in their support of the Stow family, nor in their commitment to work with the Los Angeles Police Department to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice. But, to be clear, Mr. McCourt and the Dodgers will defend themselves against the allegations made by Mr. Girardi in the lawsuit that he filed this morning."
In the wake of the attack, the Dodgers agreed to pay for increased security presence supervised by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and hired former L.A. police chief Bill Bratton to work on long-term measures to improve stadium security.
The team also paid for the Stow families' hotel bill at the Downtown Los Angeles Marriott while Stow was hospitalized at County USC Medical Center for almost seven weeks and pledged nearly half of the $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Stow's attackers.
Girardi said the the family insisted on repaying as much of the money that has been raised for the Bryan Stow Fund since the attack except for a scholarship for Stow's children that was donated by Giants slugger Barry Bonds because it "means so much to them."
Girardi said that the crux of his argument will be that there were steps the Dodgers could've taken to better protect public safety, but willfully chose to put their resources in other areas.
"They've added all these off-duty police officers now. Would this have happened if they were there before?" Girardi said. "The Dodgers have, at least in our view, inappropriately spent their money. They pay the highest rent of any other team in baseball, and of course we know they pay that rent to the McCourts.
"This incident wouldn't have happened if just proper care had been taken with regard to security, and now the results are hideous."
Fourteen defendants are named in the suit, among them the Dodgers, owner Frank McCourt and several other holding companies he's established.
The lawsuit alleges that "failure to take preventative measures at Dodger Stadium was based on the defendants lack of finances and misappropriation of finances and/or misuse of corporate funds for personal use at the expense of safety at Dodger Stadium."
Girardi added that the suit does not stipulate an exact figure on damages because it is so difficult to quantify the economic impact on Stow's family and what his longterm medical needs will be.
"Although everybody is hopeful that this turns out well, facing the cold hard facts, we know that this is going to have a lifetime impact on Mr. Stow," Girardi said. "Not to mention his two children, who have been robbed of their relationship with him."
Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com.