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Jury selection begins in Giants fan Bryan Stow's civil suit against Dodgers

San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow's life changed forever on March 30, 2011, when he was beaten within an inch of his life by two Dodgers fans outside Dodger Stadium.

Now, a jury in Los Angeles will be tasked with deciding whether any of what happened was the fault of the Dodgers. Jury selection for Stow's civil suit against the Dodgers and their former owner, Frank McCourt, began Tuesday.

Stow, in his brain-damaged state, appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court in a specialized wheelchair, while prospective jurors got a preview of the legal arguments on both sides. 

From the Associated Press:

Stow, a paramedic from Northern California, will never be able to work again, his lawyer said, and it was unclear how much of the statements made on Tuesday were understood by him. His attorney, Tom Girardi, has said that Stow will not be able to testify in the trial. He was accompanied to court by a group of family members.

Stow, 45, returned home last spring after two years in rehabilitation centers and hospitals. Girardi said he requires constant care. He has estimated that Stowe's lifetime care could cost $50 million.

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(CBS Los Angeles)

The two men who assaulted Stow — Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood — have already pleaded guilty to their crimes, but Stow's legal team says the Dodgers played a part in the incident too.

If Tuesday was an indication of what we'll see when the trial starts, you can expect talk about how many security guards were working Dodger Stadium that night and how much Stow had been drinking at the game.

In a brief statement outlining his position, Stow's lawyer said he never touched anyone and was attacked from behind by his assailants because he was wearing a Giants shirt. Girardi said the Dodgers failed to provide adequate security at the stadium.

But a lawyer representing the team and McCourt said the Dodgers and the Los Angeles Police Department provided the single largest security force for a Dodgers game in history. Witnesses at a preliminary hearing in criminal court told of seeing no security guards in the parking lot where Stow was attacked and said bystanders called 911 for help.

Defense attorney Dana Fox blamed Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, who pleaded guilty to the attack, for causing Stow's injuries. But he also said evidence would show Stow was drunk, and the fight started over something he said. Blood evidence would show that Stow's blood alcohol level was two times higher than the level for drunken driving, he said.

Fandom is already playing a big part in the legal proceedings. The 100 prospective jurors in court Tuesday were given a six-page questionnaire to fill out, with questions such as "What is your opinion if any of Frank McCourt?" Attorneys also are trying to gauge whether the jurors are Dodgers fans or Giants fans, by asking them to recount when they've attended either teams' games.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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