Jury awards $15M in damages in UVA lacrosse player’s killing

May 2, 2022, 5:38 PM | Updated: 6:36 pm
FILE - In a March 8, 2009, photo, University of Virginia women?s lacrosse player Yeardley Love work...

FILE - In a March 8, 2009, photo, University of Virginia women?s lacrosse player Yeardley Love works with the ball in Charlottesville, Va. Nearly 12 years after Love was found dead, George Huguely, convicted of second-degree murder in her killing is headed back to court for a civil trial. Jury selection is expected in Charlottesville Circuit Court Monday, April 25, 2022 in a trial that will seek to hold George Huguely V liable in the death of Love. (AP Photo/The Daily Progress, Andrew Shurtleff, File)

(AP Photo/The Daily Progress, Andrew Shurtleff, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A former University of Virginia lacrosse player is liable for fatally beating his girlfriend in 2010 and must pay $15 million in damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, a jury found Monday.

George Huguely V is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence in the killing of Yeardley Love after being convicted of second-degree murder during a 2012 criminal trial. Huguely and Love both played lacrosse at UVA and had a two-year, on-again, off-again relationship before Yeardley was found beaten to death in her off-campus apartment on May 3, 2010.

The lawsuit sought to hold Huguely civilly liable in Love’s death and asked the jury to award $29.5 million in compensatory damages, plus $1 million in punitive damages.

On Monday, the jury awarded $7.5 million in compensatory damages to both Yeardley’s mother, Sharon Love, and her sister, Lexi Love Hodges. Punitive damages were not awarded.

Both women broke down in tears when the jury’s verdict was read in Charlottesville Circuit Court Monday night after about two hours of deliberations. The verdict came almost 12 years to the day Yeardley Love was found dead in her off-campus apartment.

“This had been a tremendous ordeal,” said Paul Bekman, an attorney for the family.

“They’ve lived through this, they lived through the criminal trial, and now they had to go through this civil trial,” he said. “It is a partial closure that means a lot to them.”

Bekman said the jury was asked to answer the question of whether Huguely acted with “willful and wanton” misconduct and whether his actions were in “conscious disregard” of Love’s rights. The jury answered “yes,” a finding that meant they could award punitive damages, but they did not.

But Bekman said the finding of willful and wanton misconduct means that Huguely will not be able to have the $15 million in compensatory damages dismissed by a bankruptcy court if he argues that he does not have the assets to pay the judgment.

During the trial, Huguely’s lawyer, Matthew Green, acknowledged that Huguely’s actions caused Yeardley’s death and said her family was entitled to compensatory damages.

But Green said Huguely had been drinking heavily for more than 24 hours before he confronted Love in her apartment, did not intend to kill her and was unaware that she was dead until police told him while questioning him the next morning. Green argued that Huguely’s actions did not rise to the level of “willful and wanton” conduct needed for a jury to award punitive damages under Virginia law.

“We think the result of the jury in granting the defense request not to award punitive damages shows that George got a fair trial ten years ago and justice was done at that time and no additional punishment was warranted,” Green said after the verdict.

Love, of Cockeysville, Maryland, and Huguely, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, were both 22-year-old UVA seniors who were weeks away from graduation.

Love’s attorneys told jurors that Huguely and Love had a rocky relationship that was damaged by Huguely’s excessive drinking. They said Huguely kicked a hole in Love’s bedroom door, then beat her and left her alone in her apartment without seeking medical attention. A medical examiner concluded she died of blunt force trauma to her head.

Huguely testified that he doesn’t remember breaking into her room and leaving her fatally injured. He said he had been drinking heavily and compared his memory of the night Love was killed to a slideshow in which 98% of the slides had been removed.

Bekman said the jury’s verdict sends a message that being drunk does not excuse violent behavior. “You think you get a free pass — you don’t,” he said. “There’s accountability, and accountability took place today in Charlottesville.”

Toward the end of his testimony, Huguely turned to Love’s mother and sister and apologized for killing her.

“I miss her and think about her every day. I would do anything to take back that night,” he said. “I take responsibility for what happened to her and I should have never gone over to her apartment that night.”

Sharon Love initially filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 2012, but it was voluntarily dismissed years later after court rulings determined that Huguely was not entitled to coverage under a $6 million homeowners insurance policy held by his family.

A new lawsuit filed in 2018 dropped negligence claims, but added a claim alleging that an assault and battery by Huguely was the proximate cause of Love’s death.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Tuesday 7/5/2022

Major stock indexes shook off an early slump and ended with meager gains on Wall Street Tuesday as worries about the economy continue to weigh on markets. Oil prices slumped, bringing the price of U.S. crude back below $100 a barrel for the first time since early May. Tech stocks staged a turnaround and ended […]
14 hours ago
President Joe Biden speaks on the South Lawn of the White House, Monday, July 4, 2022, in Washingto...
Associated Press

Biden to Ohio, spotlighting rescued pensions for millions

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to boost his standing with frustrated blue-collar voters, President Joe Biden on Wednesday will use the backdrop of a union training center in Cleveland to tell workers his policies will shore up troubled pension funding for millions now on the job or retired. Hurt politically by inflation at a 40-year high […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Fans watch at the start of an NFL football game inside AT&T Stadium between the New York Gia...
Associated Press

Cowboys criticized over deal with gun-themed coffee company

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys sparked criticism on social media Tuesday after announcing a marketing agreement with a gun-themed coffee company with blends that include “AK-47 Espresso,” “Silencer Smooth” and “Murdered Out.” The partnership with the Black Rifle Coffee Co. was revealed on Twitter the day after six people died in a shooting […]
14 hours ago
FILE - In this June 1995, file photo a Northern Spotted owl sits on a branch in Point Reyes, Calif....
Associated Press

Judge throws out Trump-era rollbacks on endangered species

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday threw out a host of actions by the Trump administration to roll back protections for endangered or threatened species, a year after the Biden administration said it was moving to strengthen species protections weakened under former President Donald Trump. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in Northern California […]
14 hours ago
FILE - In this June 1995, file photo a Northern Spotted owl sits on a branch in Point Reyes, Calif....
Associated Press

Judge throws out Trump-era rollbacks on endangered species

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday threw out a host of actions by the Trump administration to roll back protections for endangered or threatened species, a year after the Biden administration said it was moving to strengthen species protections weakened under former President Donald Trump. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in Northern California […]
14 hours ago
FILE - Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, center, Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, ri...
Associated Press

Profiles of Sunak and Javid, who quit Johnson’s Cabinet

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government faced a new crisis Tuesday after two of his most senior Cabinet ministers resigned within minutes of each other. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid quit, saying the government under Johnson’s leadership was no longer competent or “acting in the national interest.” The […]
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Jury awards $15M in damages in UVA lacrosse player’s killing