Settlement reached in lawsuit over soccer referee death – Detroit Free Press
A settlement has been reached in the wrongful death lawsuit involving a soccer referee who was punched during a soccer match in Livonia last year and died two days later.
John Bieniewiczâs widow, Kristen Bieniewicz, appeared in Wayne County Circuit Court today during a hearing in the case. The amount of the settlement in the civil case was not made public, and there is a confidentiality agreement in place.
In April,Â a lawsuit seeking $51 million was filed. It named Bassel Saad, who has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Bieniewicz, the manager of the Bintjbeil Stars, Saad’s soccer team, and the Michigan United Soccer League, the organization that sanctioned the game, as defendants.
âThe case has been resolved and the family is satisfied with the result and happy to put this matter behind them,â said James Acho, the family attorney and John Bieniewiczâs friend of more than 30 years.
Bieniewicz, 44, of Westland had two young sons, now ages 10 and 14.
The settlementÂ will help provide âfuture financial benefit to Johnâs sons,â according to court documents. It still needs final approval from the court.
The Michigan United Soccer League was the only defendant represented during todayâs hearing before Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen Macdonald, but the settlementÂ ends litigationÂ against all defendants in the case.
Witnesses said Saad was complaining about a call and was about to be ejected from the game when he punched Bieniewicz on June 29, 2014. The blow immediately knocked Bieniewicz unconscious.
Bieniewicz was in “fantastic physical condition” and the amount initially sought was $1 million per year for the 51 additional years he could have lived, the lawsuit said. He was healthy and his doctor said he should have been expected to live to 95, it said.
The lawsuit said Saad shouldnât have been allowed to participate in the adult recreation leagueÂ given his violent history.
In 2005, Saad was playing a soccer match in Canton when a disagreement with another player occurred, a police report said. The other player told police he was hit in the mouth twice and punched in the back of the head at least six times.
Saad, now 37, received a misdemeanor ticket for assault and battery and later pleaded no contest to attempted assault and battery, records show.
He is currently serving 8-15 years in prison for his involuntary manslaughter conviction.
Contact Elisha Anderson: email@example.com or 313-222-5144. Follow on Twitter: @elishaanderson
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