Love's mother, Sharon Love, is seeking to hold Huguely responsible in civil court. Huguely is now halfway through his 23 year sentence. Sharon Love's lawsuit seeks $29.5million in compensatory damages and $1,000,000 in punitive damages. This comes almost 12 years after her daughter died in her off-campus apartment.
Love and Huguely were both seniors at the University of Virginia. The school is a top-ranked state school and was ranked consistently as one of the best. They were just weeks away from graduating and were well-known for their participation on the UVA men's and womens lacrosse teams. They were also well-known for their volatile relationships. Huguely was convicted of murdering Love.
Prosecutors claimed that Huguely punched Love in the bedroom, then beat her. She was furious about having a relationship with a North Carolina lacrosse player. Love suffered a head injury which caused bleeding at her brain stem's base.
Love, 22 years old, died from blunt force trauma to the head. However, defense and prosecution experts had differing medical opinions about the fatal consequences of her injuries.
Huguely's lawyers claimed that he went to Love's apartment only to talk to her but that their argument quickly turned physical. Huguely claimed that he hit her head on the bedroom wall, but she was only bleeding from her nose.
Huguely was interrogated by police and shown to the jury on videotape. A detective told him that Love was dead and that "you killed" her. Huguely then sobbed and said that he had done nothing that could have killed her.
The jury convicted Huguely of second-degree murder after rejecting a charge of first-degree murder against Huguely. Although the jury recommended a sentence of 25 years in prison, the judge instead imposed a sentence of 23.
Many of the same witnesses and testimony are expected in the civil trial -- roommates, friends, and other lacrosse players -- but many of them will testify in videotaped interviews instead of in person.
Sharon Love originally filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in 2012. However, it was voluntarily dismissed many years later after court rulings ruled that Huguely wasn't entitled to coverage under a $6,000,000 homeowners insurance policy owned by his family.
In 2018, a new lawsuit was filed that dropped the negligence claims but added a claim that Huguely assaulted and beat Love. Punitive damages are justified because Huguely used physical force against Love and left her bleeding, infected, and without medical attention. This means that Huguely acted with actual malice, and showed a willful disregard for Love's safety and life.
Kevin Biniazan was an attorney representing the Love family. He declined to comment on the lawsuit and the upcoming trial.
Matthew Green, Huguely’s attorney, stated that the defense will admit that Huguely assaulted and beat Love and that Love's family is entitled for compensatory damages. The jury will decide the amount. He said that the defense doesn't believe punitive damages should be awarded.
"First, the jury in the criminal case did not believe George's conduct was sufficient to warrant a conviction for first-degree murder. We don't believe George's conduct is sufficient to justify a punitive damage award. Green stated that punitive damages are not required and can be awarded at the discretion of a juror.
Green stated that Huguely will testify. He will only be released from prison on that day and not during the trial.
Green stated that George is still deeply sorry and remorseful about Yeardley’s death. He would do anything to get that night back. He will never be able to fill the void left by her death. "