Dodgers seek to bar Bryan Stow claims

Updated: February 3, 2012, 9:53 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

WILMINGTON, Del. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers asked a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge on Friday to disallow claims against the team filed by Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan nearly beaten to death outside Dodger Stadium last spring.

Stow and his family sued the Dodgers in California state court, then filed the claim with the federal court in July, weeks after owner Frank McCourt put the team in bankruptcy.

"The Stow claim is, when stripped to its core, based on the faulty premise that a landowner is an insurer of the safety of persons on its property," the Dodgers said in a 37-page motion filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross.

Stow's attorney, Tom Girardi, disagreed with the Dodgers' filing.

"All of these issues that they're raising now have already been raised in the California state court, and they were already denied," Girardi told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "It took the court about 14 seconds to say 'baloney.' These are triable issues of fact. And that case is still pending."

Stow suffered a severe brain injury when he was attacked after the Dodgers' home opener against the Giants on March 31. He was hospitalized until October, then moved to a rehabilitation facility.

Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood were charged in the attack, which police described as the culmination of a string of confrontations they had with randomly selected Giants fans at the stadium.

McCourt is in the process of selling the team by April 30.

"I'm not surprised McCourt has been unwilling to settle because in life people make mistakes," Girardi said. How you're judged as a person is what you do after you make a mistake. This guy is just despicable. I wouldn't expect him to do the right thing."

Girardi added that the Stow family remains open to settling its suit against the Dodgers and McCourt before the team is sold, but they have so far been unwilling to do so. He expects the matter to go to trial or be passed on to the team's new owner.

"I think when they get a new owner, someone with integrity, someone who wants to do the right thing, everything will work out fine," Girardi said.

The Dodgers said there were 442 security personnel in the ballpark and parking lots that day, including police. The team said that was an increase from 398 for the 2010 opener and 308 for the first home game in 2009.

"Stow cannot prove any link between the additional security related steps that Stow contends the debtors should have taken and his injuries," the Dodgers said in a statement. "Stow cannot show that anything about the security personnel staffing on opening day caused his injuries and, furthermore, the security staffing at the game greatly exceeded all requirements of California state law."

In addition, the Dodgers said the team "had no knowledge of any inappropriate conduct by Stow's assailants prior to the time that Stow suffered his injuries and, as a matter of law, are not liable for failure to anticipate criminal acts of third parties."

Girardi said the Dodgers had submitted sworn statements in the case that contained lies.

"The last thing anybody would expect from a statement from the current bankrupt owner would be something about integrity, something about fairness, something about how do I correct the problem I caused?" Girardi told The Associated Press.

"But steady as she goes with him, the same guy who siphoned off $189 million bucks of the Dodger organization and then put the team in bankruptcy, who got rid of security, who has more incidents of harm than any other team in baseball. Now this guy coming forward and saying forget about it."

Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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