The second of two lawsuits against the estate of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez has been formally filed, with both alleging the baseball star “owed his passengers a reasonable degree of care” on the morning his boat crashed into a jetty, killing two friends.
The lawsuits themselves don’t shed any new light on the boat crash that killed Fernandez and his companions, Eduardo Rivero and Emilio Macias, after a night at a riverside Miami bar. The crash stunned South Florida and the Miami Marlins franchise that counted the Cuban-born Fernandez as its brightest and most talented star.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Relatives of Rivero and Macias filed the negligence-and-wrongful lawsuits in Miami-Dade circuit court.
The suits point out that Fernandez was “legally intoxicated” while “operating his vessel.” A toxicology report released in October showed that Fernandez was legally drunk and also had cocaine in his system when he did.
Fernandez, 24, and the others died when his 32-foot boat plowed into the Government Cut north jetty off South Beach before dawn Sept. 25.
The court documents do not say who was behind the wheel of the boat at the time of the crash.
His family’s lawyer, Ralph Fernandez, no relation, has long insisted that Fernandez was not piloting the boat at the moment of impact. That’s backed up by a witness who was on the phone with the pitcher at the time of the crash, he has said.
Ralph Fernandez stressed that that the pitcher’s estate is not worth as much as people assume.
“I can assure you that it does not exceed $2 million. You can rest assured of that,” he said, adding that the lawsuits were expected and “we will deal with it appropriately.”
The accident is still being investigated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.