MIAMI, Florida– We previously reported about the tragic accident that took the life of star baseball pitcher José Fernandez of the Florida Marlins in September. Also killed in the boating accident were the two men on the boat with Fernandez, Emilio Jesus Macias and Eduardo Rivero. Macias was a banker, and Rivero, a sales representative at Carnival Cruise Lines. While Rivero was a friend of José Fernandez, Macias had just met Fernandez for the first time a few hours before the fatal boat accident. In our last report in October we had mentioned that the families of Macias and Rivero had hired attorneys. Over the past week, both families filed suit against Fernandez’s estate.
At the time of the crash, Jose Fernandez’s career was blossoming. In fact, it is reported that he was scheduled to sign a $30 million contract which would have taken place sometime shortly after the date he was killed in the boating accident that happened in Miami Beach Florida, when a high-powered boat he owned crashed into a jetty that was extended out of the government cut.
The initial reports on the accident discussed how this particular area had been involved in prior accidents because the rocky jetty protruding out of Government Cut is not easy to observe at night as there were no lights on it, and is often hidden by the water and waves. The reports discussed the failure to have provided appropriate lighting based on the dangers in the prior reported incidents. The channel for the boats to operate in actually avoids the jetty, but if someone were taking a shortcut approach, the jetty is easy to strike if you are not aware of it because it is so difficult to see. Soon after the incident, it was reported that the star baseball pitcher had actually been drinking and had cocaine in his system. This was a shock to the sports world and of course very damaging to the reputation of this star baseball pitcher.
However, the cause of the accident has still not been determined. The fact the investigation has not yet been completed, as well as the fact that José Fernandez’s girlfriend at the time is about to give birth to Fernandez’s daughter, seems to point toward a somewhat lengthy litigation process before we see whether this case gets resolved.
The family members of Macias and Rivero are represented by the same attorney, who has filed wrongful death actions on behalf of both family members. They each are asking for $2 million. However, the Fernandez attorney has stated that he believes an investigation will show that Fernandez was not actually operating the boat at the time, and that he may have not voluntarily ingested the cocaine.
The only theory to hold the Fernandez estate liable for these deaths is not simply whether he was negligently operating the boat. If Mr. Fernandez was not operating the boat, another theory of liability for the deaths would be the fact that he was on board the boat, and had negligently entrusted the operation of the boat to whoever was in fact operating it, and also that Fernandez had failed to prevent the boat ride, which was at night, and apparently done after there had been drinking and partaking of drugs. In any case, Macias and Rivero would most likely be assessed a percentage of responsibility for their participation.
We will wait and see what the final investigation reveals as to who was operating the boat, and what is assessed as the cause, or contributing causes to this tragic accident.