BOSTON (CN) – The phone service company that recorded former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez’s hacked prison phone calls will not face privacy claims from his estate after a judge dismissed the case.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Helene Kazanjian agreed with Texas-based Securus Technologies Inc. last week that inmates are “aware of the fact that all non-privileged calls are being recorded and stored” and they do not have a privacy interest in those calls.
Hernandez filed the complaint five months before hanging himself with a bed sheet in the Massachusetts prison where he was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.
His lawsuit said that someone hacked Securus’ database and accessed his phone recordings in 2014, before his conviction.
The former New England Patriots tight end claimed the hacking of his jailhouse conversations with his fiancee caused him to suffer emotional distress.
His estate pursued the invasion of privacy and negligence claims, but Judge Kazanjian ruled that the suit couldn’t survive Hernandez’s death under state law.
The estate was “only seeking emotional distress damages for the alleged breach of contract,” Kazanjian wrote, according to the Boston Herald. “Under the circumstances of this case, emotional distress damages are not recoverable for breach of contract.”
Researchers announced last week that Hernandez suffered the most severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, ever seen in someone his age. The 27-year-old suffered significant damage to his frontal lobe, large holes in parts of his membrane, and a shrunken hippocampus, researchers revealed at a medical conference at Boston University.
“We can say collectively, in our collective experience, that individuals with CTE — and CTE of this severity — have difficulty with impulse control, decision-making, inhibition of impulses or aggression, often emotional volatility and rage behaviors,” Dr. Ann McKee said.
CTE, a progressive degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma, can only be diagnosed in an autopsy. BU researchers have studied 486 brains and diagnosed CTE in more than 100 former NFL players, but called the age of Hernandez and the condition of his brain unique.
“We’re very grateful to the family for making this donation,” McKee said. “This will really accelerate and advance our research going forward.”
The finding comes on the heels of the federal lawsuit Hernandez’s estate filed against the NFL and helmet maker Riddell in September.
The complaint alleges the league knew about the dangers of repeated head blows but concealed the risks to its players and failed to protect them.
In 2015, the NFL reached a $1 billion settlement with retired players diagnosed with brain injuries linked to repeated concussions, but admitted no fault.