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Dodgers, guard ordered to pay $105,000 to fan in stadium melee

PHOTO: Dodger Stadium in Elysian Park, Los Angeles, California, Photo Date: 2/5/2020
guydeborg / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
PHOTO: Dodger Stadium in Elysian Park, Los Angeles, California, Photo Date: 2/5/2020

A judge today awarded $105,000 in punitive damages to a man who alleges he was wrongfully beaten by security team members at Dodger Stadium on opening day 2018.

The Los Angeles Superior Court panel assessed $100,000 of Francisco Rodriguez's damages against the Dodgers and $5,000 against Dodgers security officer Erik Pena. The punitive damages phase of the trial was triggered on Thursday when the jury, while deciding Rodriguez's compensatory damages, found that Pena acted with malice, fraud or oppression.   

The panel awarded Rodriguez $131,780 in punitive damages, but the amount was impacted by an additional jury finding that Rodriguez was 75% liable for his injuries and the Dodgers the remaining 25%. Jurors concluded that Pena was negligent, but not the Dodgers.

The lawsuit was filed in July 2018 and one of multiple cases brought by fans over the last several years alleging misconduct by Dodger Stadium security team members.

Rodriguez maintains he was told by security team members that they were ejecting him because he had asked about the way another fan was being treated during the March 29, 2018, game. One of the escorting guards on the way to the exit took him to the ground and punched him in the head, the plaintiff alleges.

One guard placed his knee on the plaintiff, who protested, "I can't breathe," the suit states.  

In their court papers, Dodger attorneys maintain that after he was outside the stadium exit, he grabbed Pena by the collar, pulled him close and slugged the guard n the right check with a clenched right fist.

"It was a violent, unprovoked and indefensible blow which caused Pena to fall back and nearly lose his balance,'' according to the team lawyers' court papers.

Rodriguez admitted that he swung at Pena, but maintained he did not hit the guard's face and that Pena subsequently punched him up to six times.

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Article Topic Follows: California

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