Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is sitting in Bristol County prison in North Dartmouth awaiting trial on a murder charge, has just been hit with two civil wrongful death cases for an unrelated matter. There have not been any criminal charges filed against Mr. Hernandez associated with these wrongful deaths. It is understood that the District Attorney’s office is investigating and that a Grand Jury has been convened.
Nevertheless, according to reports, Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado were killed by Mr. Hernandez in the South End of Boston on July 16, 2012 and their families have filed a civil lawsuit. The civil suit asks for $6 million in damages for the estate of each young man. The facts seem to be that Hernandez followed the men into the club; shortly thereafter he left. When Abreu and Furtado left, almost an hour later, the Hernandez vehicle circled around, pulled up to the Abreu and Furtado vehicle, and fired the shots that killed the young men. Apparently there were three witnesses in the vehicle.
Wrongful Death Case in Bristol County
The news that most folks know is that there is pending in Court for first degree murder of Odin Lloyd. Mr. Lloyd was killed somewhere near Mr. Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro. The motive, according to reports, was that Mr. Lloyd may have had information that tied Mr. Hernandez to the double murders of Abreu and Furtado. Odin Lloyd’s family has filed a wrongful death case against Aaron Hernandez in Bristol County. That case is pending the criminal case. Recall, however, in the OJ Simpson case some years ago, OJ was found not guilty in the criminal case, but responsible in the wrongful death case for a double murder.
Personal Injury Civil Case in Florida
Aaron Hernandez has trouble in Florida as well. Alexander Bradley, a former friend of Mr. Hernandez, filed a civil law suit in Miami stemming from a shooting at a nightclub. In that case, Mr. Bradley lost his right eye after an altercation. According to Bradley, following an argument in a Palm Beach strip club, Mr. Hernandez, followed him in a car and opened fire, shooting him in the head. That case is in US District Court. Mr. Hernandez is refusing to testify in that case, citing his Fifth Amendment rights not to testify in a way so as to incriminate himself. In his Answer to the Complaint, Mr. Hernandez denied the allegations, which is standard in civil litigation.
Wrongful Death and Damages
From the perspective of a personal injury and wrongful death attorney, we have to be careful how we litigate a case and where “damages” or money can come from. Most victims of wrongful death, or serious personal injury cases, can only seek monies from insurance companies. There is no insurance for murder, as it’s an intentional act. There is insurance for negligent homicide, or negligence. However, if the defendant has personal assets, which Mr. Hernandez does, there is a way to collect damages in a murder case. Hernandez has a 5 year $40 million contract with the New England Patriots. It was signed in August 2012. Significantly, this was after the Abreu and Furtado murders. The contract likely has a prior bad acts clause, which would help the Patriots nullify the contract and have grounds for not paying. In an ironic twist, proving everything the Abreu and Furtado families hope to prove, they could cut off all of the damages they would be able to collect, as it is not likely Mr. Hernandez, at 24, has any other source of income.
For a free consultation in a wrongful death case, call Attorney Neil Burns at 617-227-7423.