April 16, 2024

A 71-year-old employee helping with crowd control at a game between the Rams and Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium in 2022 has filed a lawsuit claiming that the negligence of the Rams and the company that supplied security guards caused him to suffer brain injuries during a violent brawl between fans.

Robert Leahey’s lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court states that the incident occurred on Dec. 8, 2022, during a Thursday Night Football game. He was working for a company that provides crowd control services that does not “raise to the expertise of a more formal security services,” the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, Leahey was diagnosed with “severe and catastrophic brain injuries, including a subdural hematoma with brain bleeding” and was hospitalized.

APEX Security Group, which is listed as a defendant along with the Rams and two companies that “owned, controlled, operated and/or maintained SoFi Stadium,” supplied the security guards who responded to the fight, the lawsuit reads. Messages asking APEX to comment were not returned.

Leahey attempted to assist by making notes of those responsible for the fight, according to the suit, but APEX security guards rushing to the scene “pushed Mr. Leahey out of their way,” the suit alleges. Leahey fell down the stairs and hit his head on the concrete “several times,” the suit said.

Security guards helped him up but he had trouble staying on his feet, experiencing “neurological issues.” Shortly thereafter someone threw a metal beer can that struck Leahey on the back of the head, the suit said.

The result, according to the lawsuit, is that Leahey continues to have difficulty concentrating and that he has speech and vision impairments. “His life has entirely changed since December 8, 2022. He remains in the care of medical professionals.”

The lawsuit also contends that the Rams should have known that a game against the Raiders would draw rowdy fans and had a duty to hire sufficient security guards to prevent brawls.

Fights at SoFi Stadium are fairly common. Barely a month before the fight between Rams and Raiders fans, a man was thrown over a railing after a game between the Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Nine months earlier, Bryan Alexis Cifuentes was charged with a felony count of battery with serious bodily injury in connection with a fight in the stadium’s parking lot during the Jan. 30 NFC championship game between the Rams and the San Francisco 49ers that left the victim, Daniel Luna, in an induced coma.

And in October of this year, violence in the stands marred a Monday night game between the Chargers and Dallas Cowboys. A fight on a concourse exit involved a dozen or more fans, and several were knocked to the ground. Other fights took place in the stands.

A recent study ranked SoFi Stadium as one of the safer NFL venues both inside and in the surrounding neighborhoods, a conclusion drawn from a study of crime statistics and a poll of more than 3,000 fans by Sportsbook Review. However, the study did not specifically address fights among fans.

The NFL announced Wednesday that SoFi Stadium will host Super Bowl LXI, which will take place at the end of the 2026-27 season. In 2022, the Rams won the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LVI on their home field with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals.


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