LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Dodgers fan who said he was attacked in the stadium parking lot after a 2019 home game is suing the team, alleging the lighting was poor and security was lacking.
Rafael Reyna’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges negligence, premises liability, assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
His wife, Christel Reyna, has a separate bystander claim for emotional distress.
The 48-year-old plaintiff, then of Eastvale in Riverside County, was walking through the parking lot on the phone with his wife, sometime after 12 a.m. following the Dodgers’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, March 29.
The game was one of the longest ever, ending in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Los Angeles police told reporters Reyna got into a dispute with a young man and young woman. The dispute intensified, and the young man then punched Reyna.
“The dispute escalated, ultimately ending in when the young man struck Mr. Reyna with a single punch,” LAPD Capt. Billy Hayes said. “Mr. Reyna fell to the ground, landing on his buttocks, fell backward, and struck his head on the pavement, sustaining significant head trauma.”
Reyna’s wife told CBSLA she could hear someone yelling at her husband, and then heard a loud thump.
She remained on the phone as strangers tended to Reyna and could hear one of them saying that he was bleeding.
The suspect was believed to have fled in a white SUV, possibly a Toyota 4Runner.
The father of four was taken to County USC Medical Center where he was placed on life support, according to his wife.
Brian Kealey, the Dodgers’ security manager, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.
A representative of the team declined to comment on the suit.
Girardi & Keese, one of two law firms representing Reyna, won a multimillion-dollar verdict in 2014 for San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow, who suffered a permanent brain injury in a March 31, 2011, beating in a Dodger Stadium parking lot.
Security was reduced in 2004 for financial reasons, and in 2008, the Dodgers began relying solely on security guards uniformed in polo shirts, without any uniformed Los Angeles police officers, the suit alleges.
“The lack of LAPD-uniformed security personnel diminished the safety and security of Dodger Stadium by creating a more relaxed atmosphere without the threat of immediate police intervention,” emboldening wrongdoers at the stadium, the suit alleges.
The attack was not witnessed by any security guards and the area was “notoriously poorly lit,” and Dodgers personnel took 10 minutes to locate Reyna and even longer to get him emergency treatment, the suit alleges.
The suit alleges that the team knew about “numerous prior similar incidents at Dodger Stadium” that occurred in part because of the lack of security, including uniformed LAPD officers.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)