A jury awarded $475,000 to a longtime Dodgers fan in a “home run” verdict for injuries he suffered during a 2009 clash with security guards at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers contended in court that the physical altercation came over the fan’s daughter’s T-shirt that had offensive language, including an expletive.
Despite it all, the winning plaintiff insisted he’ll always be a Dodgers fan.
The Los Angeles Superior Court panel deliberated for about three hours before finding in favor of Leonard Romo on Tuesday in his lawsuit against Los Angeles Dodgers LLC.
The jury found that the Dodgers and Romo were both negligent. Romo’s lawyer, Christopher Aumais, said that the $150,000 his client was awarded for emotional distress was cut by a third due to Romo’s contributory negligence, meaning that the amount the Dodgers will be obligated to pay is reduced to $425,000.
“I think it’s a home run,” Aumais said of the verdict.
Romo’s case stemmed from injuries he suffered during a Sept. 16, 2009, game in which the Dodgers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1. The team was owned at the time by Frank McCourt, and his business entities will be liable for the judgment, according to Aumais.
Aumais said the case was challenging given that the defendant was the Dodgers and because Romo’s injuries were not as obvious as those of Bryan Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan who suffered a brain injury after being beaten by two men in the Dodger Stadium parking lot in March 2011. A jury awarded Stow about $14 million in July 2014 and Aumais was one of his lawyers.
Romo, now 51, says he was attending the game with his wife, daughter Kelly, now 35, and grandchildren when he was tackled, handcuffed and dragged 25 feet. Romo suffered shoulder, knee, back and neck injuries and later underwent knee surgery, his court papers state.
But according to defense attorney Jerome Jackson’s court papers, Romo and his daughter became belligerent when security guards asked her to turn her T-shirt inside out because it had offensive language on it, including an expletive. The security guards had to restrain the pair, according to Jackson’s court papers.
Jurors viewed a video of the incident during the trial and Judge Michael Linfield allowed them to see it again during deliberations.
Romo, of Los Angeles, said during a recess in the trial that his allegiance to the Dodgers dates back to when he was 5 years old. He said he continues to follow the team Wednesday.
“I’ll always be a fan,” Romo said.
Romo said he has been unable to work since the stadium incident. He sued the Dodgers in September 2011.
—City News Service