A click-bait headlines go, “Hernandez victims sue Patriots” would have been far more effective. And technically accurate.
Via the Associated Press, the estates of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado have added the Patriots and Kraft Enterprises LLC as defendants in the pending wrongful death lawsuit filed against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. The move aims to block Hernandez from getting the cash he seeks from the Patriots under his 2012 contract via a grievance filed by the NFLPA.
Hernandez wants $3.25 million in unpaid signing bonus money and another $2.96 million in guaranteed payments from the Patriots. Because he had earned the signing bonus and the Patriots had cut him from the team, Hernandez has a strong to quite strong case for the $3.25 million. As to the $2.96 million, his chances are much slimmer.
The estates of de Abreu, Furtado, and Odin Lloyd have quite strong to very strong civil cases against Hernandez for killing them. Regardless of what happens in the criminal prosecutions, where the standard of proof is very high, a 50.0000001 to 49.9999999 standard applies in the civil case. If Hernandez wins the grievance, the $3.25 million quite possibly will go to the families of his alleged victims.
It’s not known whether Lloyd’s estate has filed a similar claim. There’s no reason not to. With Hernandez’s cash reportedly shrinking, the only assets left could be the house he’s prohibited from selling due to the lawsuits and the bonus money he hasn’t received from the Patriots.
From Hernandez’s perspective, the civil cases represent the least of his legal worries. And as he prepares to face trial for three murders, his lawyers have asked that Hernandez be moved to a jail closer to Boston, alleging that Hernandez’s safety and his ability to communicate with his lawyers is being compromised. The lawyers specifically allege that Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson has colluded with the district attorney, has “abandoned” his duty to detain Hernandez in a safe manner, and has used Hernandez for “self promotion and virtually nonstop publicity.”
Hodgson, arguably seizing on the filing for even more publicity, called the contention “outrageous” and claimed the jail is “nationally accredited.”
It doesn’t really matter where Hernandez is kept as he awaits trial. What ultimately will matter is whether he’s kept behind bars after any of the three murder trials.