“Apathy, Indifference” Among Dodger Staff in Stow Beating: Report

A "culture of apathy and indifference" existed among many of the game day staff at Dodger Stadium when Bryan Stow was attacked on Opening Day in 2011, according to a Major League Baseball assessment report.

Excerpts of the MLB's findings are included in a motion by Stow's attorneys to re-open discovery and take the deposition of the author of the report or the person most knowledgeable about its contents.

Lawyers for Stow say that the document is dated July 2011, but that they did not receive it from defense attorneys until November 2013. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victor Chavez is scheduled to hear the motion April 11.

Stow suffered brain damage from the March 31, 2011 attack. He sued in May 2011. The remaining defendants are former Dodger owner Frank McCourt and three entities he created.

The contents of the MLB report are sealed, but Stow's attorneys state in court papers that some of the conclusions support their argument that security was insufficient the day Stow was hurt.

"The assessment contains information which is vital to plaintiff's case," the Stow attorneys state in their court papers. "It evaluates key aspects of the stadium's operations, technology, hiring, staffing and security."

Defense attorneys say security was up to par that day, but Stow's lawyers say the assessment report indicates otherwise.

"This document clearly indicates that defendants were not following such standards,'' the Stow lawyers state in their court papers.

According to Stow's attorneys' court papers, the MLB report found a "culture of apathy and indifference among a number of day-of-game day staff and the Dodgers are not receiving the benefit of over 200 sets of eyes and ears that have the majority of contact with guests as well as the ability to observe and evaluate all elements of the operation."

The report also concluded that the stadiums operations executive should have had an MLB background, according to Stow's attorneys' court papers. The plaintiffs' attorneys maintain the person in charge at the time was unqualified.

Dodger staff members told the MLB assessment team that the Dodgers' transition from uniformed Los Angeles police to officers in polo shirts "initiated a deterioration of crowd behavior and an increase of the ongoing security concerns" and that "the level of respect and authority that Dodger fans paid to Los Angeles police officers in full uniform did not translate to the sworn officers in polo shirts once they were solely responsible for providing policing services at the stadium," according to the Stow attorneys' court papers.

The pay disparity between officers in polo shirts and in LAPD uniforms "contributed to an adverse work environment among the various security entities deployed at the stadium," according the plaintiff's lawyers court papers.

The team also found the camera systems to be antiquated, inhibiting the operator's ability to identify vehicles, license tags or persons with any degree of accuracy, according to the Stow attorneys' court papers. McCourt's attorneys state in a 17-page trial brief that security was sufficient at Dodger Stadium the day Stow was attacked.

"The security team deployed at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day 2011 was one of the largest, if not the largest, security presence at a Dodger game in the history of Dodger Stadium,'' according to the McCourt attorneys' court papers.

"That security team numbered 442, including 195 uniformed on-duty Los Angeles Police Department officers."

With more than 55,000 fans in attendance, there was one security personnel member present for every 124 fans at the stadium, according to the McCourt attorneys.

"That security ratio was nearly 10 times greater than the security ratio that the LAPD afforded to the residents of Los Angeles on that same day," their court papers say.

"Simply put, the Dodgers provided a significantly higher level of security to Stow ... than he would have found anywhere else in the city of Los Angeles."

Rialto residents Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, both Dodger fans, are accused of repeatedly kicking Stow in the head in the stadium parking lot.

They are named in a cross-complaint by McCourt. Trial of Stow's suit is scheduled May 27. His lead attorney, Thomas Girardi, said no person or entity in the current ownership of the Dodgers faces any potential liability. Girardi praised the security levels at Dodger Stadium under the new regime.

The criminal case against Sanchez and Norwood is still awaiting trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.

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