Aaron Hernandez Is—Of Course—Getting Sued
In the endless legal saga of Aaron Hernandez, news that the family of Odin Lloyd will go forward with their wrongful death suit against the former NFL star comes as no real surprise.
After all, Lloyd’s mother announced in December that the family would sue Hernandez for his role in Lloyd’s murder. Now that a jury has found Hernandez guilty of that murder, the civil suit can proceed, and it stands a good chance of winning the Lloyd family money. Lloyd’s mother is expected to hold a press conference Wednesday.
Wrongful death civil suits differ from criminal trials in a few ways that really help the Lloyd family here. In a murder trial, a unanimous panel of jurors had to determine beyond reasonable doubt that Hernandez was guilty of killing Lloyd. To find him at fault in a civil suit, a mere majority of jurors need to find only a “preponderance of evidence.” It’s a lower bar to clear. As Sports Illustrated’s Michael McCann explained: “This essentially means the jurors must conclude it is ‘more likely than not’ or ‘anything higher than 50%’ that the defendant is liable.” That’s why a criminal court acquitted O.J. Simpson, while a civil suit found him at fault, and demanded he pay $33.5 million to the families of his victims. Hernandez, meanwhile, was actually found guilty in criminal court, which suggests it won’t be too hard to meet the demands of a civil case.
The Lloyds aren’t the only ones who want to stake a claim on Hernandez’s assets, by the way. He also faces a suit from the families of the two men he is accused of murdering outside a Boston nightclub in 2012. He’ll stand trial in criminal court for those murders later this year. In the meantime, there’s a hold on assets like his North Attleboro home. After that, the second civil suit can also proceed, ensuring that Hernandez won’t be done with the justice system for a long while yet.