A Los Angeles judge has ruled that the children of Giants fan Bryan Stow can't join their father in a lawsuit against the Dodgers over a near-fatal parking lot beating, but allowed Stow to seek punitive damages against the baseball team and its owner for allegedly enabling the assault by deciding to reduce security.
Stow, 42, a paramedic from Santa Cruz, was attacked outside Dodger Stadium after the season-opening game March 31 and suffered severe brain injuries. He has undergone several operations at San Francisco General Hospital, where his family reported two weeks ago that he was able to speak to them.
Two men from San Bernardino County have been charged with assaulting Stow and have pleaded not guilty.
A lawsuit, filed initially on behalf of Stow and his two children, accuses the Dodgers of creating the conditions that led to the assault.
The suit alleged that the team, aware that the parking lot is in a high-crime area and has been the site of other violent attacks, decided nevertheless to cut back on security starting in 2008. The Dodgers stopped hiring uniformed off-duty police officers, and their plainclothes guards took 10 to 15 minutes to reach the scene of the assault in a dimly lit area, the suit said.
On Friday, Superior Court Judge Abraham Khan granted the Dodgers' request to dismiss Stow's children as plaintiffs, saying they were not present and are not entitled to damages for the distress they suffered by learning of their father's injuries.
But Khan denied a defense request to dismiss Stow's claim for punitive damages against the team and its owner, Frank McCourt.
If a jury found that negligent security contributed to the assault, it could award Stow compensation for his financial losses and his pain and suffering. Khan said jurors could award additional damages as punishment if Stow's lawyers can prove allegations that the team cut security costs to subsidize McCourt's personal lifestyle.