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Attorneys for Bryan Stow: No Evidence Referee Needed

They say the Dodgers request for a neutral "discovery referee" hides their unwillingness to share documents needed in the lawsuit filed by the Stow family against the team.

Attorneys for the man severely injured in an assault in the parking lot of of Dodger Stadium on opening day say a judge should deny a request by team owner Frank McCourt for the appointment of a neutral party to assist a judge overseeing the victim's lawsuit.

Dodger lawyers maintain a discovery referee is needed in Bryan Stow's lawsuit to evaluate requests for information by each side and make recommendations to Judge Abraham Khan.

But in court papers filed Thursday, attorneys for Stow assert that the Dodgers have no basis for their argument and that it is being made to try to excuse a lack of cooperation in sharing information.

"Defendants have failed to actively engage in the discovery process and seek to appoint a referee to excuse their blatant failure to respond to discovery," the Stow lawyers' court papers state.

The Stow attorneys say the material they are seeking from the team is not complex and therefore there is no reason to have a discovery referee, who would cost both sides more money.

But attorneys for McCourt and the team state in their court papers filed in November that a referee -- usually a retired judge -- is needed because Stow's lawyers already have more than 4,370 written requests for data and that attorneys for the team plan to soon lodge several hundred of their own to the other side.

"This is a complex and high-profile case that involves 16 named defendants ... and far-reaching claims and allegations by the plaintiff," the defense court papers state.

Most of the defendants are corporate entities of the Dodgers.

The team's court papers also state the case will involve the taking of numerous depositions. They include people who accompanied Stow to the game and those who witnessed various events when the March 31 attack happened as well as the alleged assailants themselves, Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 30. Both men are the subject of a cross-complaint by the Dodgers and have been criminally charged in the Stow attack.

But Stow's lawyers say the criminal case should have no impact on the taking of the depositions of the two men,  both of whom may assert their right to refuse to testify in the civil case on grounds they could incriminate themselves.

"Both parties can seek to take the depositions of Norwood and Sanchez without the appointment of a referee and without implicating principles of criminal law," according to the Stow attorneys' court papers.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled Jan. 13.

Stow and his children, Tyler and Tabitha Stow, filed the suit against McCourt and 13 team entities on May 24. Among the claims are assault, battery, negligence, premises liability, negligent hiring, assault and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The children have been dismissed as plaintiffs.

Stow was beaten in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium shortly after the first game of the season. Police said he was attacked because he was wearing Giants gear.

The Dodgers' cross-complaint against Norwood and Sanchez states that although the Dodgers and McCourt believe they are not liable for Stow's injuries, in the event a jury finds otherwise, Sanchez and Norwood should be ordered to pay part of the damages.

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