Bryan Stow's family's lawsuit against Dodger Stadium will likely go forward without any major hiccups even after the team filed for bankruptcy this week, an attorney for the family told SF Weekly.
Thomas Girardi, a Los Angeles-based lawyer representing Stow's family, says that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt's unusual agreement with the team will let the lawsuit go forward while the team suffers financially. The family recently sued Dodger Stadium where Stow was brutally beaten by Dodgers fans in the parking lot after the March 31 opener game.
Typically, when a bankrupt company is being sued, any pending
lawsuits are put on hold. However, Girardi thinks that won't
happen in the Stow case.
One reason is that McCourt divided the Dodgers into more than 20 shell
companies. The Stow lawsuit targets 14 corporations -- all companies McCourt has set up that pertain to the L.A. Dodgers,
Girardi says. The bankruptcy petition includes only five companies.
"We're claiming the stadium itself was wrong because they had no
security," Girardi says. "We don't claim the team did anything wrong.
[McCourt] didn't put the stadium and the parking lot into the bankruptcy
Still, Girardi says he's unsure which company
controls the parking lot and stadium. "Here with the shell-and-pea game,
it's very difficult, until we get the corporate books, to tell who
controls what," he says.
What's also helping the Stow case is that the team's insurance is part of a common policy held by Major League
Baseball. "I don't think the court will stay [the lawsuit]
because it's not the team being sued, and there's enough insurance to
cover this family," Girardi says.
In fact, the bankruptcy case might actually help the
Stow family, says San Francisco-based personal
injury attorney Eustace St. Phalle. The bankruptcy filing could provide more
financial information on assets and expenditures -- information they might not otherwise be able to access. This could help prove the Stows' allegation that McCourt cut back on stadium security because of his "financial mismanagement and family woes."
Girardi says he's also been collecting financial information from another good source: the McCourts' divorce transcript.
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