US$14 mil. to beaten Giants fan returns security focus
By Robert Jablon and Andrew Dalton, AP
July 11, 2014, 12:05 am TWN
LOS ANGELES--Three years after his savage beating at the hands of Los Angeles fans at Dodger Stadium drew attention to sporting event violence, Bryan Stow was awarded about US$14 million when a jury found the team was negligent.
For one juror, the award to the 45-year-old paramedic and San Francisco Giants fan who is now brain damaged sent a clear message about the need for better security at sporting events.
The Dodgers “did have a (security) plan but somewhere along the line that plan broke. And it needed to be fixed,” juror Carlos Munoz said after Wednesday's verdict. “Hopefully we helped to fix it ... If you're going to own a stadium, do it right.”
But sports law experts said the amount, not huge for major franchises valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, may not change the way they do business.
“For a major league team it's certainly a reminder that security is crucial,” said Michael McCann, founding director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire.
However, he added, “I don't think it's going to be a game-changer in terms of how teams look at security.”
McCann said it may have a bigger effect on smaller teams that don't have the kind of resources the Dodgers have.
“If injuries like these can give rise to these types of damages, for minor league teams this can be a more significant amount,” McCann said.
In the wake of the attack, the Dodgers and Los Angele police made a series of concrete moves, increasing their security at games, including adding more patrols and undercover officers wearing rival team jerseys. San Francisco made similar moves.
However, the Stow case didn't necessarily have an industry-wide effect, and any changes it brought in event security were tiny compared to the massive overhaul that came a decade earlier after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.