Bryan Stow Family's Attorney: Lawsuit Will Not Be Affected by Dodgers Bankruptcy
|The Dodgers may be bankrupt, but the Stow lawsuit is safe.|
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 protection."
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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