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Thursday, November 10, 2011
Bryan Stow family disputes commercial

By Ramona Shelburne
ESPNLosAngeles.com

The family of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow, who was brutally beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on Opening Day, said Thursday that statements made by their lawyer indicating they might be willing to do a commercial in the future -- to help reassure Dodger fans that security issues at Dodger Stadium had been adequately addressed -- was premature.

Attorney Tom Girardi told ESPNLosAngeles.com last week that he had approached Major League Baseball about working out a "reasonable settlement" for the case now that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has agreed to sell the team at a bankruptcy auction.

He added that, "I think the family would then even cut a commercial for them, saying 'Come back to Dodger Stadium, it's safe, they (the new owners) have cured the problem, they were fair to the family.'"

Thursday afternoon, Stow's family said Girardi's statement was premature and has been taken out of context.

"In recent news reports our attorney was quoted as saying the Stow family would be willing to do a 'commercial' for the Dodgers and their stadium should a settlement be made with Major League Baseball or a new Dodgers owner," Stow's family said in a statement released to ESPNLosAngeles.com. "Unfortunately, these words have been taken out of context.

"The point is that we want to use our voice and Bryan's tragic story to raise awareness about the need to dramatically improve the serious stadium safety issues at Dodger Stadium that led to Bryan's unprovoked attack.

"Once we believe those issues have been addressed and improvements made, we will be satisfied that others should feel safe going to Dodger Stadium."

Because of their pending lawsuit, the Stow family is currently McCourt's largest unsecured creditor. Girardi has previously estimated that damages in the case could be as much as $50 million. That debt would be assumed by whomever buys the team from McCourt in the auction, if it isn't settled in advance.

McCourt previously indicated he would defend himself and the team against the suit. On Oct. 27, Jerome Jackson, the attorney representing the Dodgers and McCourt in the matter, told ESPNLosAngeles.com that the two suspects in the case, and Stow himself, should bear the majority of the liability in the case, not the Dodgers.

"One of the things the jury will be asked to do is to determine what percentage of fault various individuals have for this event," Jackson said last week. "You're saying to the jury, 'They (the Stow family) are saying we're 100 percent liable. But does that mean (Marvin) Norwood and (Louis) Sanchez, who beat this guy up, have no liability? And, does it mean Mr. Stow himself has no liability?'"

Girardi said he hopes MLB or whoever buys the Dodgers takes a different approach.

"As I've said before, people make mistakes," Girardi said. "You're judged by what you do after you make the mistake. I would hope a new owner would come in and say 'Hey. This is terrible. This guy is really hurt. We've got to do the right thing.'"

Stow, a paramedic from Santa Cruz with two children, was in a coma for several months after the attack. He has since been transferred to a rehabilitation facility in northern California. While he has made remarkable progress in his recovery -- writing his name for the first time last week -- doctors have told the family he still has a long way to go and will likely need permanent medical care the rest of his life.

"Most important and above all else," Stow's family said Thursday, "We would like a positive end to this civil suit for Bryan and his children. Bryan will need daily care for the rest of his life and will not be able to support his children as he otherwise would have before this attack that has left him permanently disabled."

Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com.