Created on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 Written by DENISE LAVOIE, AP Legal Affairs Writer
BOSTON (AP) — A lawyer for the families of two men allegedly gunned down by former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez will ask a judge to bar the football team from paying Hernandez a $3.25 million contract signing bonus.
A hearing is scheduled Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court on a request for a preliminary injunction.
Hernandez is accused of fatally shooting Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in 2012, just weeks before he signed a 5-year, $40 million contract. Prosecutors say Hernandez shot the men as they sat in their car at a stop light after one of the men accidentally spilled his drink on Hernandez at a Boston nightclub.
William Kennedy, an attorney representing the men's families in wrongful death lawsuits, said the Patriots have challenged Hernandez's right to receive the bonus. But Kennedy said he wants a court order in case the team is ordered to pay Hernandez.
According to the lawsuit filed by Kennedy, Hernandez has filed a grievance seeking the money, plus $82,000 owed to him by the team.
In a court papers filed Tuesday, lawyers for the Patriots said the team has paid Hernandez everything he is owed under his contract. The players' union has filed a grievance on behalf of Hernandez claiming the team owes him more money, but the team views those demands as "meritless," according to the filing.
"Thus, the Patriots owe Hernandez nothing," attorneys Daniel Goldberg, Andrew Phelan and Emily Renshaw wrote.
The lawyers said that in the "unlikely event" that the team is ordered to pay Hernandez more money after an arbitration proceeding, the team has offered to inform the plaintiffs and the court and will not pay Hernandez anything without a court order.
Stacey James, a spokesman for the team, did not immediately return a call and email seeking comment Wednesday. A spokesman for the NFL Players Association also did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Kennedy also wants the court to freeze Hernandez's assets. Each of the lawsuits is seeking $6 million in damages.
The team released Hernandez after his arrest in the 2013 death of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.
"It's really a motion to prevent any further payments to be made by the New England Patriots to Mr. Hernandez pending any further action of the court," Kennedy said. "What we're looking to do is preserve as much as we possibly can — any assets — for the satisfaction of the families of the two decedents."
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in all three slayings.
Hernandez's attorney in the wrongful death lawsuits, John Fitzpatrick, said in court papers that the attempt to prevent the team from paying Hernandez is "fundamentally unfair" because Hernandez needs the money to pay for his defense in the three killings and the civil cases.
Depriving Hernandez access to his earnings "would impair his state and federal constitutional rights to counsel and to due process," the response said.
Fitzpatrick did not immediately return a call seeking comment.