Judge preserves Hernandez's assets for pending wrongful death lawsuit
A Massachusetts judge granted a restraining order Thursday that preserves some assets of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez in connection with a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of the man he's accused of killing.
At a hearing in New Bedford Superior Court, the judge accepted a temporary agreement between attorneys for Hernandez and the family of Odin Lloyd that the ex-player's North Attleborough, Mass., home could be used to satisfy any future judgment in the civil case. The residence is valued at $1.25 million.
Charles Rankin, who is defending Hernandez in the criminal case, appeared in court on his behalf. But Rankin said he is not representing Hernandez in the civil suit. Hernandez has the right to challenge the order later.
The wrongful death suit filed this week alleges Hernandez ''maliciously, willfully, wantonly, recklessly or by gross negligence caused Odin Lloyd to suffer personal injuries that directly resulted in his death.'' It doesn't specify a figure for damages.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the June shooting death of Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-professional football player from Boston who was dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend. Hernandez, 24, is being held without bail.
Prosecutors say the ex-Patriot killed Lloyd because he was upset with him for talking to some people with whom Hernandez had problems. The defense says the case won't hold up during a jury trial.
During a brief recess Thursday, Patriots attorney Andy Phelan and an attorney for Lloyd's estate, Kevin Phelan, forged a separate agreement that the team will not pay any of a disputed sum — more than $3.2 million — to Hernandez if he prevails in a grievance filed by the NFL Players Association, but would notify the court.
In return, the estate agreed to no longer pursue a formal restraining order against the team to prevent a payment to Hernandez and will drop the Patriots as defendants.
The Phelans are not related. Both declined to comment outside court.
If the estate wins its civil suit, presumably it could seek the money owed Hernandez to satisfy any future judgment in the civil suit.
The Patriots released Hernandez on the day of his arrest in June.
Hernandez also faces a civil suit filed in Florida by Alexander Bradley, who alleges Hernandez shot him in the face after they argued outside a Miami club earlier this year. Hernandez's attorneys have said he will not answer the accusations and is invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.