Paul Edlund

Attorney at Law

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Los Angeles Jury Awards Giants Fan $14 Million in Injury Suit

LA DodgersA Los Angeles Superior Court jury ruled that the Los Angeles Dodgers were partially responsible for failing to maintain a large enough security presence during the first game of the 2011 season when a visiting fan was severely beaten in the stadium parking lot.

Bryan Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan who traveled to Dodgers stadium to watch his team take on the Dodgers on Opening Day in 2011 was involved in an altercation with two Dodgers fans in the parking lot after the game. Stow was severely beaten during the fight, and he was later placed in a medically induced coma. Stow and his family sued the Dodgers for lost wages, past and future medical expenses, and non-economic damagers on the grounds that the team failed to provide the necessary security for a season opener featuring two bitter rivals. The suit sought damages in excess of $65 million.

As we’ve discussed before, juries are tasked with determining “fault percentages” in personal injury cases. Sure, the Dodgers could have provided better security, but the incident certainly never would have happened without the attackers, and sometimes even the victim is partially liable. In this case, the jury decided that the two attackers – Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood – were 75 percent responsible for Stow’s damages. The Dodgers were found 25 percent responsible for Stow’s injuries. In total, the jury awarded Stow $13.9 million for his injury.

The team’s attorney said they didn’t agree with the verdict, but they respect the decision.

“The Dodgers do not agree with every part of the verdict, but we certainly appreciate the fact this jury spent a lot of time wrestling with substantial evidence, and clearly tried to come to the right decision,” said club attorney Dana Fox. “This unfortunate incident was caused solely by Sanchez and Norwood and, unfortunately, Mr. Stow, but we respect the jury’s decision.”

It’s uncertain if either the Dodgers or Stow will appeal the decision.

Paul Edlund comments

This is an unusual case. The organization is paying a lot of money and also accepting responsibility for injuries sustained by a fan that was beaten on their property.

Typically, this would be an issue to pursue against the attackers, rather than the owners of the property on which the beating took place. However, it seems that this is part of a much larger issue of violence in and around the Dodgers stadium, which is why you see the team taking responsibility.

Shoplifter Awarded $500,000 In Police Brutality Suit

Shoplifter $500,000A man who pled guilty to shoplifting shrimp from a supermarket was awarded $510,000 by a jury after he won a police brutality suit against the Brooklyn Police Department.

The whole ordeal began when Kevin Jarman, 50, was arrested outside a supermarket on accusations of shoplifting. According to Jarman, after he was placed in handcuffs the arresting officer yanked on the cuffs while Jarmon’s feet were in an awkward position. The movement caused Jarman to fall on the pavement, and he suffered a broken ankle as a result of the fall.

During the suit, Jarman testified that the officers added insult to injury.

“When I fell, they had a big laugh at my expense. They were all laughing out loud and they demeaned me,” Jarman said. “ [The officer] said he was going to videotape it and put it on Youtube.”

After hearing the facts of the case, an impartial jury rejected the officer’s claims that Jarman fainted and fell on his own. Attorneys for the city plan to fight the ruling.

Paul Edlund comments

I am somewhat surprised by way the story is being received by the general public. I understand that there is outrage that an alleged shoplifter ends up getting a huge payday, but the actions of the arresting officer are far worse than Jarman’s actions.

Let’s break it down. Jarman likely made an impulse decision to steal a $10 bag of shrimp. It’s a victimless crime in the sense that no people were physically harmed by his actions. I’m not condoning his actions, but in the grand scheme of things there are much more severe crimes.

Onto the officer. The arresting officer is specifically trained to professionally handle volatile and non-life threatening situations. Extreme force is one thing when it’s a life and death situation, but by all accounts, Jarman was not resisting and he posed no threat to the officer. He should be able to arrest Jarman without any issues. Instead, he decides to take the law into his own hands and serve some street justice to the suspect. He probably didn’t mean to break Jarman’s ankle, but that doesn’t excuse the behavior.

The bottom line is that police are trusted to carry weapons and uphold the law, and this officer abused his authority and broke a suspect’s ankle in the process. Jarman deserved to be compensated for his injury, plain and simple.

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