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Expert disputes Dodgers' view of lawsuit by Bryan Stow's children

August 12, 2011 |  2:27 pm

Bryan Stow
Attorneys for the Dodgers and owner Frank McCourt are arguing that Bryan Stow's children should not be allowed to sue the team over their father's beating, but one expert said he would be surprised if the children are completely barred from suing.

Gregory Keating, a law professor at USC and an expert in tort law, said the fact that O.J. Simpson was successfully sued in civil court by Lou and Juditha Brown, the parents of Simpson's ex-wife, should be an indication that a judge will likely allow the children’s claims to proceed in some form.

"Remember, Nicole Brown Simpson's parents managed to recover," he said. "Certainly for children not to have a parent, what they lose is more than parents who lose children."

Keating said the Dodgers' filings appeared to be in part an effort to change the narrative in the court of public opinion regarding who is responsible for what happened to Bryan Stow. Ultimately, attorneys on both sides appear to be "jockeying" for what facts will later end up before the judge and a potential jury and factor into a possible settlement, he said.

"You want to get your narrative out there, and the narrative if you're the defense is, some of these bad things that happened are sad, but not our responsibility," Keating said.

The lawsuit was filed in May on behalf of Bryan Stow and his two children, Tyler and Tabitha, and names McCourt and 13 other Dodgers entities. The suit lists nine claims: negligence, premises liability, loss of consortium, assault, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, retention and supervision.

But court papers filed this week contest some of these claims, many of which involved Stow's children. Defense attorneys say Tyler and Tabitha don't have a valid claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress, or loss of consortium, society and comfort. They also shouldn't be allowed to seek the negligence claim, lawyers said, because they weren't at the game and weren't present when the attack happened.

"The complaint does not allege ... that Mr. Stow's children attended the game nor is it alleged that the children were with Mr. Stow at the time of the alleged incident," the papers said. "Absent any such allegations, Mr. Stow's children cannot maintain any claim for negligence against the named defendants."

Lawyers said the fact that the children cannot sue was "a matter of common sense."


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Photo: Bryan Stow and his children. Credit: Family photo / Associated Press