Los Angeles, CA – A man who alleges he was wrongfully beaten by security team members at Dodger Stadium on opening day 2018 has been awarded $105,000 in punitive damages by a judge. The Los Angeles Superior Court panel assigned $100,000 of the damages against the Dodgers and $5,000 against Dodgers security officer Erik Pena.
The jury determined that Pena acted with malice, fraud, or oppression, triggering the punitive damages phase of the trial. The panel awarded Francisco Rodriguez $131,780 in punitive damages, but the amount was reduced due to the jury’s 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 jury held Pena negligent but did not hold the Dodgers accountable.
Rodriguez’s lawsuit, filed in July 2018, is one of several cases brought by fans against Dodger Stadium security team members alleging misconduct over the past few years. Rodriguez claims that he was forcibly removed by security team members after inquiring about the treatment of another fan during the March 29, 2018, game. According to the plaintiff, one of the guards took him to the ground and punched him in the head. Rodriguez also alleges that one of the guards placed his knee on him, causing him to struggle to breathe.
The Dodgers’ attorneys argue that after Rodriguez was taken outside the stadium, he grabbed Pena by the collar and punched him in the right cheek with a clenched fist. They described the strike as “violent, unprovoked, and indefensible.” Rodriguez admitted to swinging at Pena but denied hitting the guard’s face. He maintained that Pena subsequently punched him multiple times.
The Dodger organization has launched an investigation into the incident. The case highlights ongoing concerns about fan safety and alleged misconduct by stadium security at Dodger Stadium.