Trial begins in lawsuit by severely beaten Giants fan against Dodgers ex-owner

By Michael Martinez and Paul Vercammen

(CNN) -- The lawyer for Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan severely beaten at a Los Angeles Dodgers game in 2011, argued Thursday that the former owners of the Dodgers went cheap on safety, and that played a factor in his client's debilitating injuries.

The attorney for former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, meanwhile, countered by claiming Stow was drunk and aggressive at the time of the brawl that left Stow brain-damaged and disabled.

So went the opening remarks at a civil trial in which Stow is suing the Dodgers and claiming the team had faulty security measure and defective facilities that contributed to the attack.

Stow, who uses a wheelchair and lives with his parents in Capitola, California, wasn't in the courtroom, located two miles from Dodgers Stadium.

Stow's attorney's, Thomas Girardi, told a jury that McCourt had an irresponsible approach to fan safety.

"(He) got rid of uniformed officers in (Dodger Stadium) because it was cheaper," said Thomas Girardi in his opening statement.

Girardi argued that under McCourt, the Dodgers dropped the number of uniformed security officers from 120 in 2009 to 19 in 2011. Girardi said Stow's lawsuit is not against the current Dodger organization and its management group that includes NBA legend Magic Johnson.

But the lawyer for McCourt and his former Dodgers management argued his clients acted reasonably, and called Stow intoxicated and aggressive before the assault.

Stow's blood alcohol level was at least 0.16, which is twice the legal threshold for DUI in California, attorney Dana Fox said.

"This occurred due to a hot tempered, intoxicated flash firefight," attorney Fox told the jury.

Fox argued the McCourt Dodgers spent a record $66,000 dollars on 2011 opening-day security against the rival Giants -- the day when Stow was severely beaten.

Stow's mother, Elizabeth Stow, testified her son cannot walk or use the toilet unassisted. Stow wears adult diapers all day and a catheter at night, the mother said.

"He just doesn't have the sense that he had to go to the bathroom right now," Stow's mother, a former church secretary, said.

Stow takes what seems to be an alphabet-long list of prescription drugs daily, from Ambien to Xarelto, she said. He takes 27 to 28 medicines a day, she added.

Fox said no one disputes that the two men now serving time for the savage attack caused Stow's injuries, and he emphasized that no one from the Dodgers organization assaulted the former paramedic.

In February, Marvin Norwood, 33, and Louie Sanchez, 31, were sentenced to four years and eight years, respectively, for their roles in Stow's beating.

Stow's lawyer argued Thursday that Norwood and Sanchez began swearing and throwing food at Giants' fans in the second inning of the 2011 game and should have been thrown out by stadium security then.

The lawsuit seeks a total of $50 million, mostly to cover Stow's long-term medical costs, for him and his two children.


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