Wife of referee killed in Detroit soccer match files $51 million lawsuit

Fri Apr 3, 2015 5:40pm EDT
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By Serena Maria Daniels

DETROIT (Reuters) - The wife of a 44-year-old suburban Detroit soccer referee who died after being punched at a game last summer filed a $51 million lawsuit on Friday against her husband's killer, court records show.

Kristen Bieniewicz, the wife of John Bieniewicz, is asking for $1 million for each year her husband could have lived had he not been hit in the throat during a game in Livonia, Michigan, according to the lawsuit.

“John C. Bieniewicz, died 51 years shy of his physician’s prediction, based on the malicious, vicious, and barbaric action by Defendant (Bassel) Saad,” read the lawsuit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court.

In addition to Saad, the owner of the Bintjbeil Stars Football Club and the Michigan United Soccer League are named in the complaint, which alleges that Saad was negligently allowed to play soccer despite a history of violent behavior during games.

Saad, 37, pleaded guilty in February to involuntary manslaughter for fatally injuring Bieniewicz during a recreational league game in June.

Prosecutors had said Saad became upset at Bieniewicz, a longtime soccer referee, when the referee was about to eject him from the match. Bieniewicz died two days after the attack.

Saad was sentenced to eight to 15 years in prison last month.

(Editing by Laila Kearney and Dan Grebler)