Dodgers want no mention of Stow case in trial of fan beating suit
Attorneys for the Los Angeles Dodgers want a judge to bar lawyers of a man suing the team for an alleged beating by a pair of other patrons inside Dodger Stadium in a 2018 game, from mentioning in the upcoming trial a previous beating case in a stadium parking lot.
Plaintiff Milton Flores alleges the team provided inadequate security and a lack of uniformed Los Angeles police officers the night he was beaten by two other men inside Dodger Stadium during an extra-inning playoff game. His Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit names as defendants Los Angeles Dodgers LLC and the two alleged assailants, Robert and Jaime Joe Berumen. The suit does not state the relationship between the Berumens.
In 2011, San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was assaulted in one of the venue’s parking lots.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury in 2014 awarded about $18 million in damages to Stow while attributing 75% of the liability to his two assailants who beat him into a coma, 25% to the team and none to former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.
In court papers filed Tuesday with Judge Michelle C. Kim arguing that any mention of the Stow case during the Flores trial would be prejudicial to the team, Dodger attorneys noted that Stow was represented by disgraced former attorney Tom Girardi.
“Due largely to years of false publicity generated by the now-disbarred Girardi, there is a widespread misperception that the Dodgers and McCourt were found solely liable for Stow’s injuries,” the Dodger lawyers state in their court papers. “But facts are far from the fiction promulgated by Girardi and his minions.”
While the Stow case involved a fight in the Dodger Stadium parking lot and alleged that there was inadequate lighting, the fight between Flores and the Berumens took place in the smoking section of the venue and Flores has not made an issue about lighting, the Dodger lawyers state in their court papers.
Under the new team ownership and management now as well as in 2018, there were many more uniformed LAPD officers present than under the McCourt regime, the Dodger lawyers state in their court papers.
“Thus, this case is far removed from the Stow incident, in which Girardi repeatedly argued that Stow’s injuries were the result of the Dodgers’ eliminating, or reducing, the number of uniformed LAPD officers who provided security at Dodger Stadium,” the team’s attorneys argue in their court papers.
According to Flores’ suit, the Dodgers decreased security in 2004, possibly because of McCourt’s financial trouble. By 2018, the team began relying solely on security guards in polo shirts, diminishing safety by making police intervention seem less likely to troublemakers, according to the suit.
In August 2018, the Dodgers resumed in-seat sales of beer to fans 21 years old and over who paid with cash or a credit card to vendors at all levels, according to the suit.
Flores and the Berumens were present at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 16, 2018, when the playoff game between the Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers went into the 13th inning before the home team won, 2-1, the suit states. At about 10 p.m. and with the game still tied 1-1, Flores and his son-in-law went to the restroom and encountered the Berumens, who appeared drunk and falsely accused Flores of trying to urinate into a trash can, the suit states.
The Berumens also called Flores a derogatory name suggesting he was not a U.S. citizen, the suit states.
Security guards tried to calm the situation, but did not follow up to confirm that the Berumens returned to their seats, the suit states. The guards also did not eject the Berumens from the stadium or monitor them to make sure they did not drink more alcohol or take steps to reduce the chance they would bother Flores again, according to the suit.
At about 11 p.m., Flores and his daughter went to a smoking area of the stadium and encountered the Berumens there, the suit states. Flores’ daughter accidentally bumped one of the Berumens and apologized, but Robert Berumen shoved the woman and caused her to stumble backward, and no security guards were nearby, the suit states.
Flores intervened to help his daughter, but Robert Berumen punched him in the face, causing the plaintiff to fall and hit the back of his head on the ground, the suit states. He lost consciousness and suffered a subdural hematoma, according to the complaint.
Flores’ son-in-law also tried to protect the woman, but Jaime Berumen punched him in the left ear, causing him a laceration and abrasions, the suit states. The son-in-law is not a plaintiff.
Two security guards arrived later and separated the victims from the Berumens, the suit states. Flores regained consciousness, but had amnesia and could not recall such basic information as his address, the suit states.
The Berumens were not charged with any crime and in his court papers, their attorney maintains the pair also have no civil liability in Flores’ suit.
“Defendants allege that the plaintiff in this case created a situation in which the (Berumens) had a reasonable belief regarding an imminent danger of being injured … and caused (the Berumens) to have a reasonable belief that use of force was necessary to prevent the harm from occurring,” their attorney maintains in his court papers.
Trial of Flores’ suit is scheduled June 9.