Patriots sued for incident resulting in death of fan

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Here’s a story regarding death, the legal system, and the Patriots that doesn’t involve Aaron Hernandez.

Back in 2010,  40-year-old Jeffrey Chartier died of a heart attack after a confrontation with a security guard over whether Chartier’s six-year-old son could step on the field.

According to the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, Chartier’s wife has sued the Patriots, the NFL, the security guard, the security company, and the stadium operators for wrongful death.  The lawsuit, filed in late June, alleges that the heart attack was caused by the confrontation with the security guard.  The complaint seeks at least $10 million in damages.

Mrs. Chartier claims that their son, Tedy, had been invited onto the field by two NFL game officials prior to the Week One home game, and that the security guard eventually confronted Jeffrey Chartier about the boy’s presence on the field, because the boy lacked the required credentials.  The exchange, which allegedly lasted more than 15 minutes, was according to the lawsuit “confrontational, harsh, unprofessional, disrespectful, and antagonistic.”

The security guard allegedly continued to interact with Jeffrey Chartier in hostile fashion even after Tedy had left the field.

The names of game officials aren’t mentioned, and none are joined as defendants to the lawsuit.  According to the official Game Book for the Week One 2010 contest between the Bengals and Patriots, the officiating crew consisted of referee Carl Cheffers, umpire Undrey Wash, head linesman Kent Payne, line judge Darryll Lewis, side judge Jeff Lamberth, field judge Boris Cheek, and back judge Todd Prukop.

Lawyers for the Patriots and other defendants declined comment.  It’s unknown whether the suit comes after efforts to resolve the case without litigation.

If the allegations are accurate, the security guard apparently used excessive efforts to deal with a minimal threat to the playing surface.  However, the problem will be establishing a link between the guard’s behavior and Chartier’s heart attack.  The legal term is “proximate causation”; Mrs. Chartier’s lawyers will have to prove that her husband’s death as a result of an angry interaction falls within the reasonable range of risks created by the guard’s alleged behavior.

I haven’t researched Massachusetts law on that point (lawyer code for “I don’t know”), but it seems at first blush that people shouldn’t anticipate the link between acting like a jerk and causing someone to die from a heart attack.  There’s a good chance that the outcome will be driven in large part by how large of a jerk the security guard was.

68 responses to “Patriots sued for incident resulting in death of fan

  1. Well it certainly had nothing to do with the Patriots. But nothing eases the loss of a loved one like a sizable chunk of cash.

  2. sorry for her loss, but I just cannot agree with her on this one. If that confrontational went on for 15 minutes, it sounds like you was as much a part of it as a security guard. Besides, the card has a job to do. This guy could have walked away at any time rather than are you with security officer.

  3. GOOD! Someone who over steps his responsiblites, should be held to his personal conduct!
    15 minutes is far from “getting the problem” resolved and seems confrontational.

  4. The proximate cause of his heart attack was more likely poor lifestyle choices including eating habits, alcohol consumption and stress management. It’s a crappy story, but unless this guy was fit and healthy then he really only has himslef to blame. Was his wife also going to sue anyone he got into an argument with at work on on the street if he ended up having a heart attack? Don’t be silly. Not likely unless they were known to be wealthy.

  5. Sorry for her loss but has there been a more snake bitten football franchise than the Patriots since Spygate?

    An undefeated regular season ending in a choke Superbowl game, a second Superbowl loss when they were favored, Hernandez, Gronk, and Brady’s knee injury, nothing but bad luck.

    I attribute it to karma, plain and simple. You can’t conduct your business in such a morally bankrupt fashion and expect to catch a few breaks along the way. Life doesn’t work like that. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this security guard is at fault but he sounds like a complete a$$hole, in other words, a model Patriots employee.

  6. There would be nobody left alive around my immediate vicinity and others left in the fallout zone would die slowly from jerk radiation.

  7. I’m not a pats fan but I think this is rediculous. Like the poster said above if it took 15 mins I’m sure they were acting hostile back with the guard. If the man has health problems he probably shouldn’t be attending games. It just seems like a money grab to me. She’s just tryin to cash out and put the blame on the pats.

  8. This has become a problem in every NFL stadium. NFL games have become a Police State, just like the entire country has. I don’t go to NFL games to watch security guys with big egos and God complexes. Too much of a hassle. Better to stay at home where I know no one is watching me or watching the crowd, looking at all of us like we’re a bunch of criminals.

  9. OK, niether the officials nor the security personel work for the Patriots. The officials are NFL employees and the security guard works for a private firm. So, as much as I am sorry for this family’s loss, the Patriots have nothing to do with it. Obviously trying to get paid. I do believe it’s the new American Dream. I am surprised McDonalds wasn’t named in the suit…..

  10. Yeah it probably didn’t have anything to do with his lifestyle or genetics. He walked onto that field a time bomb and unfortunately it went off. Probably would have had it in theparking lot after the game yeling at all the dunderheads in traffic.

  11. When was the last time he saw a doctor? What was his diet? HDL/LDL levels? Weight? Exercise level?

    Doesn’t really matter if the officials invited them or not, you need credentials to be on the field. Even Coaches. Almost every shot of John Madden I’ve seen as coach of the Raiders his credentials were blowing in the breeze. And you still see them today.

    Good chance the deceased was a hot head and the security guard was not the stereotype wanna be cop.
    Too many open questions to decide it depends on what level of jerk the guard was.

  12. The loss is tragic, however, for him to have a heart attack after a 15 minute argument clearly shows he was not a healthy person. A man in good health doesn’t have a heart attack because of an argument, no matter how long it lasts.

    Also, arguments require two or more people. Not to speak ill of the dead, but it should be obvious to anyone the man had to be as equally antagonistic as the security guard in order for the disagreement to last for that length of time.

  13. I cant believe that it would escalate that fast to give the guy a heart attack. Does it mean THAT much to step on to a football field these days?

    Was the guy 4 bills?

  14. I absolutely HATE the Pats… BUT… this is the silliest lawsuit coming out of the NFL I have ever read. The family suing should be ashamed of themselves for blaming anyone but the husbands poor cardiovascular health. Take a jog once in a while, eat some Cheerios, THEN get into a heated argument with the official. Sounds like a game of peekaboo would have made this guy croak.

  15. Losing a loved one is a hard thing to deal with, but I have to say she’s stretching it a bit here, seems to me Mr. Chartier had a problem/condition well before this confrontation, and let’s just say he and the spouse had a confrontation as most couples do from time to time and the same thing happened would she sue herself? I’m far from being a Pats fan but I have to side with them on this one.

  16. So the father chooses to stay and argue with security for 15 minutes, when he could have simply left at any time. But, it’s the security he’s fault because he couldn’t leave just position, and the father sat there and argued with a guy who was just doing his job instead off the father leaving looker he was supposed to. Call me crazy, but after I ask someone to leave the first twenty times, I become a little contentious myself. In fact, after 5 minutes,I think the security guard should have been fired for not breaking out the taser and letting the guy remain there after repeatedly asking him to leave.

    Only in America, we can due everyone except for the one person, who could have avoided the whole problem by doing what they were supposed to.

  17. So, once again, in the New America, the lawyers and hogs sue to hit the lottery. It is sad she lost her husband, however, there have been personal confrontations for 10,000 years. This DID NOT cause her husband to die. It was either genetics or it was poor lifestyle or could have just been a health anomaly.

    America needs tort reform. They tried to pass it in early 2000’s but Dems blocked it due to trial lawyer union. Drags our whole country down and the world laughs at us.

    As Shakespeare eloquently stated, “First, you kill all the lawyers”. Not to be taken literally, but you know what he means.

  18. dont know the facts but i would bet that the man had a heart condition (undiagnosed?) and like most of us probably wasn’t a very healthy eater. And to argue 15 minutes im sure he and the the guard were both pricks to begin with so at minimum he had equal or more blame. besides what kind of example was he setting for Tedy?

  19. Having “stepped on the field” many times in my life, it is not up to game officials, players, or anyone else to invite fans on the field. It must be known to the security staff, who must either accompany the invitee or see that they have been given physical field credentials. Otherwise, they must be treated as a security breach – even if it’s a child – period.

    If Mr. Chartier could not identify the “game officials” to that security guard, or the security guard informed Mr. Chartier that “game officials” do not have authority to invite fans on the field, then Mr. Chartier should have accepted that and moved on.

    Stadium security crews have enough problem fans to deal with… they don’t need the addition of people entering secure areas claiming “…but he/she/they said we could!”

  20. I’m sorry for the Woman’s loss. What a terrible incident for the Son to witness. Let this be a reminder to all of us to take a deep breath before we lose our tempers.

  21. I’m not exactly sure why the Patriots are in this lawsuit, TeamOps is not owned by the Patriots. They are an independant contractor who provide security at Gillette Stadium.

    Well, unless the Patriots told them to harass people to death, then I suppose they would be liable as well.

  22. Not to be a jerk, but has anyone seen a picture of the guy? Not a picture of health, by any means.

  23. Not a Pats fan – but the Security Guards job is not to listen to the officials on the field – it is to protect the field and the stadium where he works.

    From the reports here, the boy did not have credentials to enter the field. Without credentials, the Security Guards job is to stop people from coming on the field.

    Whether or not the officials have standing to disregard rules of the stadium (i.e. things having nothing to do with playing of the game) is something I am not sure they have.

    Sounds like unless the Security Guard did a WWE Body Slam of the father – that this is just another person with their hands out looking for a free payday.

  24. Not much better than the coffee was too hot ,so I burned myself. Happened in 2010. Must have been catching all the Mark E. Salamone ads recently.

  25. Some ridiculous posts here. The usual Pats haters are now indicting the Patriots and their brand of football for an alleged incident involving a third party security guard. When does it end?

  26. He had a heart attack and died because he got yelled at. Just when you think you’ve heard it all……………

  27. I feel sorry for the man’s death. Why would a father demand access to the field without the required credential and get in to a 15 minutes exchange? It is the guard’s job not to let anyone without that.
    Millions of ppl get in to argument everyday and walk healthy. 250k/yr ppl die of sudden cardiac death. And again, HA can come out of nowhere and to associate that to single incidence is lame.
    I guess the wife is probably trying to milk Patriots on the back of Pats fear for another bad publicity on top of Hernandez nightmare.

  28. “I’m not exactly sure why the Patriots are in this lawsuit” …

    Because they have money, and that’s all this is about.

  29. TeamOps is owned by the Patriots so it makes sense why the family is suing the Patriots. The security guard is an employee of the Krafts.

    I agree with the comments above indicating this is essentially a money grab by the wife. I’m pretty sure as fans we waive liability for injury or death by stepping foot into the stadium (read the back of your ticket).

  30. I’m sorry for this families loss…it’s a terrible tragedy. I also hate the wanna-be Cop security guards that are all too prevalent at public events.

    However, if you Google this guy and look at the pictures of him – he was clearly not a fit or trim person.

    I hate to be insensitive but lets face it…healthy 40 year old men don’t die after an argument – whether it’s 15 minutes or not.

    I hope the Pats DO give this woman something anyway – for the kid. Losing your dad is terrible.

  31. Considering its America, I’m willing to guess her husband was probably 300lbs and had arteries that were all but clogged. I would bet anything that this guys heart attack was years in the making….

  32. This isn’t an issue of “the Patriots org gave my husband a heart attack.” This is an issue of, this individual was in poor health, overweight, and the stress of “a 15 min argument” killed him, and at 40yrs old no less. Look up the photos of Mr. Chartier. Sorry for the loss, but blame his lifestyle not a guard that gave him a hard time.

  33. Here’s a thought. How about clearing the sidelines of everyone not essential to the game? Seems like a lawsuit itching to happen when the sidelines are clogged with people who have no business being there. Next time watching a game check out the sideline and be amazed by the throng.

  34. What I find strange is the lack of police intervention. There are certainly plenty of them at every game. The stadium uses cops from all the local towns plus the staties. I can remember the days of the old stadium prior to Kraft’s ownership when the local cops seemed to get a lot of enjoyment pounding on drunks and idiots. There was a cop in every section to attempt crowd control. With the situation so well organized now it is strange that security did not request their help until the disagreement could be resolved.

  35. I’d like some more details, as the story doesn’t quite add up. If the kid was invited onto the field by two Patriots officials, as was the claim, how does the security guard get involved to that degree? Wouldn’t there have been a Pats official around to say things were okay? And how does a confrontation over this last for 15 minutes? That’s a LONG time to argue about something with a uniformed security guard in a public place. Seems like the guy would have left the area, would have been escorted out, or other security officers, Pats officials, or even police would have become involved by then.

  36. I agree, this case would be tough to prove, and seems a little frivolous.

    The only thing I would say, is the security at the stadium are too intense and too rude. You spend $500 to take your wife and two kids to a game (in the cheap seats), and you are often treated with the same “tough guy” gloves as a crowd of hammered, tail-gaiting 25 year olds.

    I have often felt like they really need to train their staff to delineate between a family coming to watch the game and have fun, and the guys who are there to get drunk and pick a fight, and have them act accordingly.

  37. severinsmith says: Aug 21, 2013 11:44 AM

    I have often felt like they really need to train their staff to delineate between a family coming to watch the game and have fun, and the guys who are there to get drunk and pick a fight, and have them act accordingly.
    Unfortunately, that’s called profiling and is illegal. It’s a CYA thing to treat everyone in the same manner.

  38. You never like to hear that anyone died, let alone a father, but that does not give them license to try and shake people down with a lawsuit that any first year law student knows is frivolous. The author is correct that proximate cause will be fatal to their case in Massachusetts. It is not reasonably foreseeable that performing your job aggressively but peacefully will cause someone to die.

  39. Google images has a picture of Jeffrey Chartier. I don’t think this will go anywhere if he looks anything like the picture at death. Call it 40lbs overweight

  40. Lawsuit is a joke and will hopefully be treated like one. “We verbally argued and he had a heart attack” should have no chance of becoming precedent.

    As to the famous Shakespeare quote “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” that quote does not mean what most people think it means. The quote was in the context of a plan to overthrow democracy and create anarchy – and to do that, the first thing you do is….. well, there you go.

  41. no one takes responsibility for themselves anymore, sad part is she’s going to get paid, these suits are brought because all the lawyers know it’s going to cost more to battle it in court than to give her a small settlement to go away quietly, so they settle because it’s the cheapest solutions, lawyers get paid either way thanks to our messed up legal system.

  42. I hate the Pats, with a passion. But there is simply no way to prove this. It becomes even more unlikely if the man was the least bit overweight. She’s hoping the Pats will settle with her to avoid negative attention. And they just might, they hate negative attention. It’s sad for the family But I just don’t buy her claim that a confrontation caused a lethal heart attack. It’s preposterous.

  43. @roadtrip3500

    C’mon equating poorly trained security guards on power trips being rude to patrons is not the same as profiling.

    I can’t speak to Mr Chartier’s behavior, but speaking from personal experience, my wife and I have been treated aggressively and rudely in front of our children at these games, and it was very unnecessary in each instance, and we are all Pats fans wearing full Patriot merchandise.

    You would expect someone who has been drinking since 9am and is shouting obscenities on their way into the stadium would be treated differently than a sober 45 year old father with his two kids under 8. That is just common sense.

    I agree that this lawsuit is frivolous. I do think the Patriots organization could take a lesson from the Bruins with how they treat their family patrons.

  44. These days, with parents attacking and beating coaches because their kids don’t always get to play, I’m not so sure Jeffrey Chartier is sweet, clean and innocent. Sorry he passed, but we’ll see.

  45. Read the story more closely or take a course in reading comprehension.
    According to the story, the implication is Mr. Chartier was there on the field and credentialed “and that the security guard eventually confronted Jeffrey Chartier about the boy’s presence on the field, because the boy lacked the required credentials.” or did the security guard go up into the stands to find little Tedy’s chaperone to confront him there?
    From virtually all the expert comments here no one apparently understands that subtle distinction or that the security guard initiated the confrontation over a six year old accompanied by his father. How the hell do you all get that the guy couldn’t name the “game officials” from “The names of game officials aren’t mentioned, and none are joined as defendants to the lawsuit.”
    I’m not sayin that the lady should just be handed 10 million and I don’t know anymore about the incident than anyone else here…but I can read.

  46. This is idiotic, only person at fault is himself! Take responsibility for your own health. So tired of americans suing others for this stupid stuff

  47. severinsmith says: Aug 21, 2013 2:49 PM


    C’mon equating poorly trained security guards on power trips being rude to patrons is not the same as profiling.
    Your request was to have security guards distinguish between families and potential drunk troublemakers, and treat them in different ways. How are they supposed to do that without profiling? Do you really think wearing team apparel makes a difference to a security guard? Trust me, it doesn’t… nor does having children with you.

    You’ve clearly never worked at a stadium or arena. And yes, I have – along with about a dozen relatives and friends – at the Meadowlands in NJ (my dad was there for 25 years). Crowd security and control is not a fun job. You don’t have time to make determinations… if someone is not where they should be, your first task is to move them out. These people are security, not concierge staff – in the five minutes you want them to be polite and friendly, 5 incidents could be occurring that require their attention. And it’s that much more important on the field. Team executives perform what are called “sweeps” of the field – they will do a lap of the entire field with the head field security agent and they check the credentials of every person they see. If you’re not supposed to be there, you’re gone.

    70,000 people in a packed stadium will only remain in control if all of them are kept in control. Security is not there to be anyone’s buddy – and in fact, they can be fired that day if they’re caught watching the game. It took 8 large guys – all of whom were off-duty cops or retired/reserve military – to take down one idiot on angel dust acting up in the stands… and that was long before the days of pepper spray and tazers – think those guards were interested in being “friendly” after that?

  48. This case has no merit even before you google the deceased and see he was obese. Simple cash grab at deep pockets.

  49. Sounds like the guy wasn’t physically mistreated. If that is true, I don’t think you can make a legitimate link between a verbally abusive dispute and a heart attack. This certrainly wouldn’t cause a heart attack for a healthy person and the guard would not be expected to know the patron’s current health. Also, game officials likely cannot invite whomever they want on the field, so the reason the guy was there and the stress he was under were likely caused by himself by being on the field without permission. Maybe there is some kind of abuse charge, but it doesn’t look like they can say it killed the guy.

  50. Yet another case where the party that was in the wrong (the kid and the father who didn’t have the necessary credentials to go on the field) or their survivors sue the person who was in the right (the official who denied permission to go on the field). I can only imagine the suit that would have been filed if the kid was on the field and was injured or killed – then they’d sue everyone because the kid never should have been allowed on the field without proper credentials.

  51. In reading up a little on this story, it sounds like the incident could have been easily resolved.

    That being said, the security guard doesn’t know Chartier’s health conditions. I’m sorry, but he looked like a heart attack waiting to happen. No offense. September in NE can be hot. Do you think the heat played a factor? Maybe. Did the argument raise his blood pressure? Probably.

    The guard is also reacting to the simple fact that the kid did not have any field credentials. While his people skills may need refining, the guard saw no field badge and questioned the boy’s presence on the field. That’s his job. He could have done a better job handling it seeing it was a child on the field and not an adult, as I said. But, it’s still his job. What if he doesn’t question the lack of a field badge and gets fired? Again, the guard needs people skills lessons, but he is not to blame for Chartier’s death.

    However, the kid DID get on the field, had pictures taken, ran up and down the field with a game official. What else did he want? High fives from the players? Ya know, the father could have recognized this and told the guard to go get his son for him. No argument. Confrontation avoided. But who’s to say he still wouldn’t have had a heart attack? I’m not blaming the father either. He did nothing wrong. But, HE could have handled the situation better too.

    The wife is making it sound like the kid touched his toe on the field and was immediately yanked off by an over zealous security guard, which started an argument that caused a heart attack. Really? This is a money grab. She’s looking to blame someone for her husband’s death when there is no one to blame.

  52. @roadtrip3500
    Ah, you’re a security guard. Got it. That says it all. I’ve never worked at a stadium, nor plan to. I pay the money I earn as a tech professional to go and enjoy a game with my family.

    And no, I’m not asking for CONCIERGE service. But I AM asking that a security guard not forcibly grab and shove me when I am trying to catch my son who got separated due to a crowd surge (as one instance), and then swear at my wife for verbally complaining. And Note, I have never filed a complaint against staff, or tried to sue anyone.

    Seriously, you can’t immediately tell the difference between a young family of four and a kid on angel dust? Really?

    Again, I don’t have any idea whether the dead guy was behaving properly or not, and I think the lawsuit is frivolous, but the Gillette staff needs, FROM MY EXPERIENCE, to learn how to deal with situations better. Hopefully you and your father are more adept at your jobs than some of the security staff I have encountered.

  53. @severinsmith

    Yes, I was in that line of work, no longer am.

    Whether we can tell if someone is just an ordinary fan or someone out to cause trouble is irrelevant. In the situation you mentioned, the security guard saw someone moving contrary to flow. In a surge of people that size, a guard doesn’t have time to determine if you’re going after your separated son or if you’re a pickpocket on the move. He can’t memorize every family group that came in. As I’m sure you’re aware, some people do bring children with them as a cover for a crime. And if you re-read what you typed, it may be apparent that by complaining, your wife likely escalated the situation. You didn’t have any bad intentions, but in a crowd, your activity stood out as abnormal.

    A football stadium is one of the most unique structures in that an extraordinarily large amount of people are concentrated in one area. It’s not a “walk in, have fun, walk out” scenario. Not everyone arrives at once, but they tend to leave at once. Best advice I can give to you and all the other fans reading this: have a plan on what to do and how to react if your group/family gets separated. For children, instruct them to move to the outside of the crowd flow, find the nearest stadium staff member – security guard, usher, concession worker, EMT – and wait with them. For adult groups, designate a point (gate, parking lot sign, etc.) where you’ll meet before leaving. If you think something’s wrong, ask for help first – don’t try to handle the situation yourself and make it appear that you are the problem.

  54. It was probably his eating that caused the heart attack. Eating cheese, burgers, hot dogs and any thing else that is full of grease and fat from animals.
    If he hadn’t died of a heart attack here, then it probably would have gotten him soon enough.

  55. People blaming the pats for this are total morons. There had to be a pre-existing condition or poor health involved. People don’t usually just drop dead from a heated argument. Its terrible the man died and his son being there that is a really sad situation but being sued from this is insane. Imagine how many lawsuits there would be if that was the case.

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