Michelle Carter could be paying off a judgement against her in monthly installments for the rest of her life, once she leaves prison and finds a job. Alternatively, she may be able to declare bankruptcy and get her debt discharged. It’s difficult to call the outcome of lawsuits where the defendant has no assets and no income.
You may recall that the family of Ron Goldman won a lawsuit against O. J. Simpson, but according to reports I’ve seen over the years, they were able to collect nothing from the Juice as his lawyers were able to shield his assets.
Excerpt from Mass Live
The mother of Conrad Roy has filed a $4.2 million wrongful death lawsuit against Michelle Carter, following Carter’s manslaughter conviction for pressuring her son into suicide.
Carter was sentenced Thursday to two and a half years in jail, with 15 months to be served and the rest suspended until 2022. But the judge in the case approved a stay in the execution of the sentence until Massachusetts courts rule on her appeal, meaning that for now she remains free under probation conditions.
In the suit, filed in Norfolk Superior Court on July 6, Lynn Roy claims that Roy’s death has caused $4,224,000 in reasonably anticipated lost wages, citing the captain’s license he obtained shortly before his suicide as evidence of his earning potential.
Carters’ negligence and reckless conduct caused Roy to sustain “severe personal injuries, great conscious pain and suffering of body and mind and ultimately death,” the suit alleges.
Attorney Eric Goldman, one of the lawyers representing Lynn Roy in the suit, said the goal is to establish a memorial for Conrad, not profit financially.
“The family would obviously rather have their son back,” Goldman said. “What the Roys are looking to do is somehow memorialize Conrad.”
Daniel Medwed, a professor at the Northeastern University School of Law, said that wrongful death suits often focus on lost future earnings as the most concrete economic damages that arise from a loss of life.
“There’s often debate or battle over what those earnings might be, especially with teenagers,” he said. “How do you speculate what earning potential is when we all evolve?”
Many wrongful death suits end in a settlement and the $4.2 million claim could be a baseline for those negotiations, Medwed said. But members of the Roy family, some of whom voiced dissatisfaction with the stay in Carter’s sentence yesterday, could also see the case through to a jury if they want a more public form of justice.
“Part of it depends on if this is a message lawsuit where they really want their voices heard,” Medwed said.
Goldman said no settlement talks had begun but that the family is open to negotiations.
Carter’s attorney Joseph Cataldo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.