By Matt Stevens
LOS ANGELES -- A "culture of apathy and indifference" among game-day staffers at Dodger Stadium was among the problems identified by Major League Baseball in an assessment of the 2011 beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow.
In a motion filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, attorneys for Stow asked to reopen discovery and depose the author of the MLB report, "Dodgers Stadium Assessment."
Attorneys said the report "addresses points which are vital" to their case.
Stow, then a Santa Cruz resident who worked in Santa Clara County as a paramedic, was attacked in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on opening day, March 31, 2011, and suffered brain injuries. Stow, who has been under constant care since the attack, and his family have filed a lawsuit against the Dodgers accusing the team's management of not adequately protecting fans.
In February, when Marvin Norwood and Louie Sanchez pleaded guilty to the beating, Stow's attorney Tom Girardi told the Los Angeles Times that the cost of his client's care had already topped $5 million. He estimated at the time that it would cost an additional $34 million to tend to Stow for the rest of his life.
Girardi maintains that former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt's insurers, not the current team owners, are liable for any damages.
On Thursday, he stressed that the team's new ownership, which includes former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson, has made "huge" safety improvements and addressed concerns raised in the MLB report.
Girardi's office said the MLB report was confidential, so attorneys could not produce it. A Dodgers spokeswoman said the team could not release the report or comment on it because it is a subject of pending litigation. A call to Major League Baseball was not immediately returned.
But the motion filed by Stow's attorneys quotes the assessment in several places and says the report is dated July 29, 2011 -- just months after the attack.
"Following this incident (Stow beating), several Dodger fans contacted Major League Baseball to report a multitude of incidents involving unruly fan behavior that have been occurring at Dodger Stadium in recent years," the report is quoted as saying.
"Based on these reports and at the direction of Major League Baseball Office of the Commissioner, 'The Assessment Team' conducted an appraisal of the Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Club."
According to the court documents, the assessment concluded that the "existing and temporary lighting is inadequate," a fan texting program meant to assist with safety was "ineffective" and the team's security camera systems failed to "capitalize on current technology."
The report also appeared to question the team's decision to transition from using uniformed Los Angeles police officers to using officers in Dodgers polo shirts.
"During interviews with staff members the assessment team was told that this transition 'initiated a deterioration of crowd behavior and an increase of the ongoing security concerns,' " court documents quote the report as saying.
"'The level of respect and authority that Dodger fans paid to Los Angeles police officers in full uniform did not translate to the sworn officers in Dodger polo shirts ... Further, the large pay disparity between uniformed and polo shirt wearing officers has 'contributed to an adverse work environment ... " "