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September 16, 2014

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Jury deliberating in Giants fan beating case

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AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Al Seib

A wheelchair bound Bryan Stow, assisted by a caregiver, is surrounded by family and media as he is led into the Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, as the trial goes into the last day before closing arguments for the trial of Stow’s lawsuit against former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and three team entities he created.

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In this May 31, 2012, file photo, Marvin Norwood , left, with attorney Victor Escobedo, center, and co-defendant Louie Sanchez appear during a preliminary hearing held in Los Angeles Superior court. The two men pleaded guilty on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Los Angeles to a 2011 beating at Dodger Stadium that left San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow brain damaged and disabled.

LOS ANGELES — A lawsuit that drew attention to violence at sports venues is in the hands of a jury which must decide who is to blame for a beating at Dodger Stadium that left a Giants fan with brain damage.

A lawyer for the severely disabled Bryan Stow said in final arguments that the Los Angeles Dodgers and former owner Frank McCourt were negligent in providing inadequate security for the opening day game in 2011. Tom Girardi asked that Stow be paid $37.5 million for his lifetime care and double that amount for pain and suffering.

A lawyer for the team and McCourt said Stow should get nothing.

Jurors deliberated for three hours after receiving the case Thursday and were to resume Friday.

Girardi contended the team and McCourt failed to provide enough security to keep Stow and other fans safe at the Opening Day game in 2011 between the state rivals.

"Dodger Stadium got to a place where it was a total mess," Girardi told jurors. "There was a culture of violence. Beer sales were off the charts."

Defense attorney Dana Fox, said the true culprits were Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, Dodger fans who beat Stow and have pleaded guilty. They were not sued, he noted.

"There were three parties responsible — Sanchez, Norwood and, unfortunately, Stow himself. There were things Mr. Stow did that put these things in action," Fox said.

He cited testimony that Stow's blood-alcohol level was .18 percent — more than twice the legal limit for driving — and a witness account of Stow yelling in the parking lot with his arms up in the air.

"You don't get yourself this drunk and then say it's not your fault," said Fox.

Girardi said the blame lay with the Dodgers organization and McCourt who failed to provide adequate security on a day when they expected emotions to run high among fans.

He also said, "The only thing Bryan Stow was doing was wearing a jersey that said 'Giants.'"

Fox countered that there was more security than at any other Dodgers opening day in history.

Stow made a touching appearance at the trial Wednesday in his wheelchair and jurors were able to see the ghastly scars on his head where his skull was temporarily removed during treatment.

"We would be heartless and inhuman not to feel sympathy for Mr. Stow," Fox told jurors. "These are life-altering injuries."

However, he reminded jurors they had promised not to let sympathy influence their verdict.

Stow, 45, a former paramedic from Northern California, didn't testify and was not in the courtroom during final arguments.

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