Judge: Hernandez's child can't sue NFL over brain disease

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The 6-year-old daughter of the late NFL player Aaron Hernandez missed a 2014 deadline to opt out of the league's concussion settlement and can't separately pursue a $20 million suit over his diagnosis of a degenerative brain disease, a judge ruled.

Yet Hernandez's death in 2017 came too late for his family to seek up to $4 million in compensation for suicides related to chronic traumatic encephalopathy under the class action settlement.

Hernandez spent three years with the New England Patriots before his 2013 arrest on the first of three homicide charges. The Patriots terminated his $40 million contract, and he never returned to the NFL.

SEE ALSO: Stephen Curry regrets putting daughter Riley in the NBA Finals spotlight

U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia — where lawsuits were consolidated alleging the NFL hid what it knew about the risks of concussion injuries — ruled Thursday that he was effectively retired and therefore, along with his family, bound by the class action settlement for NFL retirees.

Under terms of the concussion settlement, the judge said, "The crux of the issue is whether Hernandez was 'seeking active employment' as an NFL football player as of July 7, 2014. He was not. On this date, Hernandez had been imprisoned — without bail — for nearly a year."

Family lawyer Brad Sohn argued that Hernandez had not retired but hoped to be exonerated and return to the league. His daughter, Sohn said, should therefore be able to pursue her "loss of consortium" lawsuit in her home state of Massachusetts.

"No matter what anybody wants to say about Aaron Hernandez, she will have to live with the fact that she doesn't have a parent for the rest of her life," Sohn said Friday. "It remains our position that the NFL is responsible for the damages that she has because of his CTE."

11 PHOTOS
Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez and her daughter
See Gallery
Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez and her daughter
Shayanna Jenkins, fiancee of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez, listens during the murder trial for Hernandez at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, April 15, 2015. Hernandez, 25, a former tight end for the New England Patriots, is accused of fatally shooting semiprofessional football player Odin Lloyd in an industrial park near Hernandez's Massachusetts home in June 2013. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter
Shayanna Jenkins, fiancee of Aaron Hernandez, a former player for the NFL's New England Patriots football team, leaves the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts September 6, 2013, where Hernandez was arraigned on murder and weapons charges in connection with the killing of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd in June. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SPORT FOOTBALL)
Terri Hernandez, mother of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez and his fiancee Shayanna Jenkins watch in court during Hernandez' appearance at the Fall River Justice Center in Fall River, Massachusetts December 23, 2013. The former NFL tight end is charged in the fatal shooting of his friend, Odin Lloyd, in June 2013. REUTERS/Matt Stone/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SPORT FOOTBALL)
Shayanna Jenkins, fiancee of former New England Patriots NFL football player Aaron Hernandez, stands during a pre-trial hearing in Fall River, Massachusetts December 22, 2014. Jenkins faces perjury charges for lying to a grand jury hearing the case against Hernandez, who is awaiting trial on charges of murdering semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd in 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SPORT FOOTBALL)
Shayanna Jenkins, fiancee of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez, testifies during his murder trial in Fall River, Massachusetts March 27, 2015. Jenkins, a key witness who was granted immunity after charges she initially lied to a grand jury investigating the case. Hernandez is accused of the June 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. REUTERS/CJ Gunther/Pool
Shayanna Jenkins, fiancee of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez gestures during testimony in his murder trial in Fall River Massachusetts, March 30, 2015. Jenkins said she disposed of a cardboard box from their Massachusetts home at his request the day after prosecutors say he fatally shot an associate. REUTERS/Ted Fitzgerald/Pool
Shayanna Jenkins, fiancee of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez, testifies during his murder trial in Fall River, Massachusetts March 27, 2015. Jenkins, a key witness who was granted immunity after charges she initially lied to a grand jury investigating the case. Hernandez is accused of the June 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. REUTERS/CJ Gunther/Pool
Shayanna Jenkins, fiancee of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez, testifies in his murder trial in Fall River Massachusetts, March 30, 2015. Jenkins said she disposed of a cardboard box from their Massachusetts home at his request the day after prosecutors say he fatally shot an associate. REUTERS/Ted Fitzgerald/Pool
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 12: Shayanna Jenkins sits in the courtroom for the double murder trial of her fiancee, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston on Apr. 12, 2017. Hernandez is charged in the July 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado who he encountered in a Boston nightclub. The former NFL football player already is serving a life sentence in the 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. (Photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BRISTOL, CT - APRIL 24: Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez holds her daughter's hand as she walks into O'Brien Funeral Home for Aaron Hernandez's funeral in Bristol, CT on Apr. 24, 2017. Family and high-profile friends of Hernandez, the convicted killer and former New England Patriots star who hung himself in his prison cell last week, paid their final respects during a private funeral service in his hometown. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BRISTOL, CT - APRIL 24: Former Patriots player Brandon Spikes, second from left, walks beside Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez as he appears to cheer her daughter up as they leave O'Brien Funeral Home following Aaron Hernandez's funeral in Bristol, CT on Apr. 24, 2017. Family and high-profile friends of Hernandez, the convicted killer and former New England Patriots star who hung himself in his prison cell last week, paid their final respects during a private funeral service in his hometown. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Hernandez was convicted in the first homicide case in 2015 but acquitted of an unrelated double homicide in April 2017. He took his life days later in prison. His conviction was later overturned because he died before exhausting his appeals.

Doctors later found the 27-year-old Hernandez had advanced CTE on a level not previously seen in someone that young.

Sohn, in a brief in the case, called Hernandez "a generational talent" but said he "entered the NFL in 2010, even though (and amidst everyone's full knowledge that) he had been investigated for ties to a brutal 2007 shooting. The NFL paid no mind to this and let him play."

The daughter involved in the lawsuit is the child of Hernandez's fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins.

"A.H., a child, committed no crime nor asked to be born into such tragic circumstances," Sohn wrote.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.