Bryan Stow’s family to sue the Dodgers

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UPDATEA copy of the lawsuit can be seen here.

2:35 PM: From the “It Was Only a Matter of Time Department” comes the latest news in a sad saga:

The family of Giants fan Bryan Stow is expected to file a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Dodgers today in Los Angeles Superior Court, according to a report from CBS Los Angeles. The suit will allege that the Dodgers are responsible for exposing Mr. Stow to criminal acts of third parties.

With the caveat that I am not a California lawyer, generally speaking, the law is that a business owner owes a duty to patrons to take reasonable steps to secure the premises against foreseeable criminal acts of third parties.  The key word there is “foreseeable.” As in if you’re on notice that there is violent hooliganism about and you don’t take reasonable measures to prevent it, you’re gonna be liable when inevitable and unprevented-by-you violent acts take place.

So if you own a big white building and a parking lot which people have been saying have been growing ever more dangerous and violent for years, and then you, I dunno, fail to hire a chief of security for four months despite being aware of these complaints, you may have a bit of a sticky legal problem on your hands.

You know, just for example.

UPDATE:  Twitter follower AntiGlib reminds us that such suits are no sure thing, and that the Dodgers have won these in the past.  For example.

I guess I’d say that no plaintiff ever has a sure thing of winning a suit, so my sense that the Stow family here has a case doesn’t mean they have a win.  It simply means the suit would not be frivolous.  That said, the more incidents that pile up — and that linked suit was from three years ago — the more “on notice” the Dodgers are of a problem. Indeed, that incident can be used as evidence by the Stows here, as can any others that have since taken place.  If there has been no change — or worse, a degradation — in overall security since then, that could be bad for the Dodgers.

And of course, let us not discount the severity of the Stow beating compared to past incidents. Which, while it shouldn’t change the legal calculus, will likely have some effect on a jury if the case gets that far, for they are only human.

Report: MLB could fine the Angels $2 million for failure to report Tyler Skaggs’ drug use

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T.J. Quinn of ESPN is reporting that Major League Baseball could fine the Los Angeles Angels up to $2 million “if Major League Baseball determines that team employees were told of Tyler Skaggs’ opioid use prior to his July 1 death and didn’t inform the commissioner’s office.”

The fine would be pursuant to the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement which affirmatively requires any team employee who isn’t a player to inform the Commissioner’s Office of “any evidence or reason to believe that a Player … has used, possessed or distributed any substance prohibited” by MLB.

As was reported last weekend, Eric Kay, the Angels Director of Communications, told DEA agents that he and at least one other high-ranking Angels official knew of Skaggs’ opioid use. The Angels have denied any knowledge of Skaggs’ use, and the other then-Angels employee Kay named, current Hall of Fame President Tim Mead deny that he know as well, but Kay’s admission that he knew — he in fact claims he purchased drugs for and did drugs with Skaggs — would, if true, constitute team knowledge. Major League Baseball would, of course, want to make its own determination of whether or not Kay was being truthful when he told DEA agents what his lawyer says he told them.

Which raises the question of why, apart from a strong desire to get in criminal jeopardy for lying to DEA agents, Kay would admit through his lawyer that he lied to DEA agents. Still, the process is the process, so giving MLB a little time here is probably not harming anyone.

As for a $2 million fine? Well, it cuts a number of ways. On the one hand, that’s a lot of money. On the other hand, (a) a man is dead; and (b) $2 million is what the Angels’ DH or center fielder makes in about 11 minutes so how much would such a fine really sting?

On the third hand, my God, what else can be done here? No matter what happened in the case of Skaggs’ death, this is not a situation anyone in either the Commissioner’s Office nor the MLBPA truly contemplated when the JDA was drafted. We live in a world of horrors at times, and by their very nature, horrors involve that which it is not expected and for which there can be no adequate, pre-negotiated remedy. It’s a bad story all around, no matter what happens.

Still, it would be notable for Major League Baseball to fine any team under the “teams must report players they suspect used banned substances” rule. Because, based on what I have heard, knowledge of players who use banned substances — which includes marijuana, cocaine, opioids and other non-PED illegal drugs — and which have not been reported to MLB is both commonplace and considerable.

But that’s a topic for another day. Perhaps tomorrow.