Dodgers opening day is a painful reminder for Bryan Stow's family
Opening day at Dodger Stadium marks a painful event for the family of Bryan Stow, who was critically injured during a beating in the parking lot after last year’s opener.
Stow, who turned 43 in February, was moved last month from the Santa Clara Medical Center to a new facility in Northern California where he is getting “aggressive therapy,” according to a website maintained by his family. The new rehabilitation center has not been named.
Last May, the family filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, naming the Los Angeles Dodgers Corp. and its owner, Frank McCourt, as defendants. The suit lists Stow's parents as plaintiffs on behalf of his two minor children, Tyler and Tabitha Stow.
Stow shares an apartment with two other patients with similar brain injuries and has someone by his side throughout the day. He needs someone to transfer him to and from his chair, to dress him and make his meals, his family said on the website.
“It’s painful to think back to that day, and the following days, weeks, even months, and think about what we went through emotionally and at times, physically," writes the family. "Because Bryan still has so far to go, it's easy to get discouraged, feel down and even get angry for what happened to him.
"We feel sad for Tyler and Tabitha, who need their dad," the family continued. "We feel sad for Bryan, for having to go through what he's been through and what he will go through for the rest of his life.”
Stow, a paramedic from Santa Cruz, attended the March 31, 2011 game between the San Francisco Giants and the Dodgers. He wore a black Giants batting practice jersey and during the game was outspoken in his disdain for the Dodgers, exchanging trash talk with other fans, according to LAPD sources who were cited in a Sports Illustrated account of the incident.
After the game, Stow was assaulted by men who beat and kicked him. Witnesses said Stow was unconscious before he fell to the ground and hit his head on the concrete. Once down, he was kicked several times in the head and torso.
The assailants fled, but two suspects, Louis Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, were arrested in July; they have pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and mayhem.
Stow was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center with a fractured skull and bleeding in the frontal lobes. His attorneys, who have filed a civil suit against the Dodgers and a claim against the team in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, have said he will need medical care for life and have cited $50 million as a “conservative total estimate” of his damages.
The Dodgers asked the Bankruptcy Court to dismiss Stow's claim and find that the team could not be held liable. Stadium security was at record levels, the club contends, and the attack could not have been reasonably foreseen.
Last month, the Dodgers offered to defer to the Superior Court on three conditions: that Stow does not oppose the team's emergence from bankruptcy; that Stow waits until that emergence to proceed with the civil suit; and that Stow seeks to recover damages only from the Dodgers' insurance carriers and not from the defendants themselves.
McCourt recently agreed to sell the Dodgers to Guggenheim Baseball for $2.15 billion.
Stow's attorneys said they could work with the first two conditions but rejected the third, claiming it would "limit Stow's right to recover punitive ... damages."
-- Thomas Curwen
Photo: Bryan Stow with children. Credit: Stow family