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Inadequate security leads to team liability in stadium beating case

It was in 1957 that New Yorkers found out that the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers would be moving to Los Angeles. Generations of loyal fans have been angry about that decision ever since.

But in recent years, New Yorkers may have been relived to distance themselves from some of the team’s problems, including the lawsuit filed in response to a brutal beating at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. Earlier this week, the victim of that brutal attack was awarded $18 million by a jury, which found that the team was partially liable due to inadequate security at the stadium.

The senseless attack occurred after the opening-day game in March 2011. At the time, the victim was a paramedic attending the game with several colleagues. They were from the Bay Area and were cheering for the San Francisco Giants.

After the game, they were followed by two drunken, rambunctious Dodgers fans into the parking lot. The two men harassed the victim before launching into a savage and unprovoked attack. The paramedic was left with severe and permanent brain damage and is now also confined to a wheelchair. He’s just 45 years old.

The two men responsible for the attack are now in prison. But the victim’s family also sought to hold the Dodgers and then-owner Frank McCourt liable as well. Their lawsuit alleged that inadequate security at the stadium and inadequate lighting in the parking lot were partly responsible for creating the conditions that allowed the attack to take place.

A jury agreed. The Dodgers will now be responsible for nearly $14 million of the $18 million jury award.

Incidents like this simply should not happen in a civilized society, especially over something as inconsequential as loyalty to a sports team. But if we cannot stop drunken yahoos from attending sporting events, we should at least be able to expect reasonable security measures to protect other patrons.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Dodgers, not McCourt, found liable in Bryan Stow beating case," Corina Knoll and Victoria Kim, July 9, 2014

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