Bloomberg News

Dodgers to Submit Bankruptcy Plan That Covers Fan Beating

February 22, 2012

(Updates with beating victim’s request in eighth paragraph.)

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers won court permission to let creditors review a bankruptcy-exit plan that would give team officials partial immunity from a lawsuit filed by a man who was almost beaten to death after a game last year.

Because creditors including Bryan Stow, the injured fan, are to be paid in full, they won’t be given a chance to vote on the baseball club’s proposal. Under the bankruptcy code, those who are paid in full are presumed to support a plan.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Gross in Wilmington, Delaware, today overruled an objection by Stow’s attorney, who said a disclosure statement describing the terms of the plan doesn’t provide enough detail about whether the proposal will give Frank McCourt, the Major League Baseball team’s owner, immunity from Stow’s personal-injury lawsuit.

“Will Mr. McCourt and his affiliates be released from the claims filed in state court by Mr. Stow?” the attorney, William Baldiga, asked the judge today.

Stow, of Santa Cruz, California, was left in a medically induced coma with a fractured skull after being attacked following the Dodgers 2-1 defeat of the visiting San Francisco Giants on March 31. He sued the Dodgers and McCourt in May. The attack was one reason Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig gave when appointing a monitor to oversee the team before McCourt put it in bankruptcy.

Release From Liability

Under the plan, McCourt and other Dodgers officials would be released from legal liability for any actions they took in their official capacity as team representatives that may have contributed to Stow’s injuries, Sidney Levinson, a team attorney, said in court.

Whether McCourt and other team officials could be held liable for their personal actions can’t be determined without a trial, Gross said.

The Dodgers have asked the judge to determine that Stow does not have any claims against the team or its officers. Stow asked Gross to put off a hearing on that motion and allow the case in California to go forward.

McCourt is in the process of selling the Dodgers, which could attract bids worth more than $1 billion, according to court records. Today’s approval of the disclosure statement keeps the team on schedule to exit bankruptcy by April 30, the team said in a statement.

The bankruptcy case is In re Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, 11- 12010, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

--Editors: Andrew Dunn, Fred Strasser

To contact the reporter on this story: Steven Church in Wilmington at schurch3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net


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