Jury finds the Dodgers partially negligent, awards $18 million to Bryan Stow

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UPDATE: Apparently the allocation of damages is much more complicated than I first assumed. Specifics of California tort law and the old bankruptcy order governing the Dodgers’ liabilities at the time change the calculus here. So, while the $18 million verdict still represents the top that Stow can recover, the Dodgers may be on the hook for as much as $14 million of the jury award.

Wednesday, 5:03 PM: The jury verdict in the Bryan Stow civil case has just come in: the Dodgers were found to have been negligent on Opening Day 2011 when Bryan Stow was brutally beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. The jury awarded $18 million in damages to Stow and his family.

However, the Dodgers will only have to pay a quarter of that $18 million, as they were only found to be 25% of the cause of Stow’s injuries. His attackers, Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, were 75% responsible according to the verdict. Obviously Stow is highly unlikely to ever receive a dime from them as both of them are currently serving lengthy prison sentences.

Notably Frank McCourt, then the Dodgers owner, was not found negligent. McCourt’s not being held personally liable is consistent with the mainstream of premises liability and corporate law which, in the normal course, shields the owners of a company from liability even if the company itself is on the hook. Stow himself was not found contributorily negligent, meaning that the jury did not, contrary to the arguments of the Dodgers, believe that he was responsible for bringing on the attack which injured him. The jury likewise rejected Stow’s claim of punitive damages which means that they did not find that the Dodgers’ acted egregiously our outrageously in failing to provide adequate security at Dodger Stadium that day.

Stow’s expert witnesses estimated that he would need some $50 million in lifetime medical care due to the severity of his injuries. Now he stands to receive, at most, $4.5 million.

Or: between one and two percent of the Dodgers’ annual payroll.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.