Dodgers may have huge liability in Bryan Stow case, creditors say
The Dodgers' financial liability in the Bryan Stow case could be so "massive" as to threaten the ability of the team to pay its creditors, attorneys for the official creditors' committee said Wednesday.
Owner Frank McCourt expects to sell the Dodgers for more than $1 billion, with debts and tax liabilities that could approach that number.
The Dodgers and their parent company are more than $600 million in debt, according to court testimony. That figure does not include the $131 million claimed by McCourt's ex-wife, Jamie, as part of a divorce settlement and whatever damages a California court might award to the family of Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan critically injured in a Dodger Stadium parking lot beating on Opening Day.
"The committee understands that the [Dodgers] take the position that they are not liable for Mr. Stow's injuries," according to Wednesday's filing. "However ... a finding against the [Dodgers] could give rise to a massive claim that would dilute the pool of funds available" to repay creditors.
The creditors' committee filed its papers in U.S. District Court, where Fox Sports is seeking a stay of a U.S. Bankruptcy Court ruling that lets the Dodgers sell their television rights along with the team ahead of the schedule in their contract with Fox. The creditors, like the Dodgers, asked that the stay be denied.
Fox has argued in part that the Dodgers have no need to sell the television rights now because the sale of the team should generate enough money to repay creditors in full. By marketing their television rights now, the creditors say, the Dodgers would ensure doing all they can to maximize the sale price for the team.
"While it is not surprising that the [Dodgers] bullishly proclaim themselves to be solvent, until such time as the ... claims against the [Dodgers] are adjudicated, full creditor recoveries are not assured," according to Wednesday's filing.
— Bill Shaikin
Photo: An image of Dodger Stadium beating victim Bryan Stow as shown on the scoreboard at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Credit: Beck Diefenbach / Reuters