US Soccer player named in $51 million lawsuit

Pro soccer player, Bassel Saad, is named as part of a $51 million lawsuit brought on by wife of slain referee John Bieniewicz.

Bieniewicz was killed after receiving a punch from Saad on the field during a game in 2014.

The lawsuit also names the Michigan United Soccer League for allowing Saad to play despite knowing his violent reputation and another man who controlled the soccer league.

Filed in Wayne County court, the $51 million figure derives from the $1 million for each of the 51 additional years John Bieniewicz could have lived. He was 44 when he died.

Citing his doctor, the lawsuit described Bieniewicz, who had two children, as being in great health with the potential to live to age 95.

The incident took place during a summer game in Livona when Bieniewicz, who was referee, was about to eject Saad from a weekend game. Moments before the ejection was announced, Saad punched Bieniewicz in the head. Bieniewicz died two days later in hospital.

“We hope this lawsuit sends a message that when you commit uncivilized acts in a civilized world there are consequences, even beyond the criminal realm,” said attorney James Acho, who had known Bieniewicz since childhood.

Saad, 37, was recently sentenced to eight years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. He pleaded guilty and expressed remorse in court, saying he prays for the Bieniewicz family.

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