Between Lawsuits and a Newborn Daughter, The Battle for José Fernández’s Estate Could Get Ugly

Lead Photo: Photo: MLB
Photo: MLB
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One of the many tragic aspects of former Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández’s death last September was that he had just announced days before that his girlfriend was pregnant with the couple’s first child. In the days following the boating accident that took his life, it was one of the main details that stuck in every news report, in every tribute, and, quite often, in people’s minds. Now, roughly five months later, Fernández’s girlfriend Maria Arias has given birth to the couple’s daughter, Penelope, in Miami.

Shortly after her birth, the Fernández family publicly stated that they wish to give Penelope the entire estate of her father, which is valued at $2-3 million. Unfortunately, this could just be the start of an ugly legal battle, because the families of the two other casualties from the accident are suing the former Marlins pitcher’s estate for negligence and personal injury.

Although it has not been determined who was driving the boat before it crashed into a jetty off Miami Beach in the wee hours of September 25th, the boat was owned by Fernández. Additionally, a coroner’s autopsy revealed that Fernández had alcohol and cocaine at the time of his death. Those are the facts that the families of Eduardo Rivero and Emilio Jesus Macias are banking on in their separate lawsuits against the pitcher’s estate.

At the time of the lawsuit filings earlier this month, Christopher Royer, the attorney for both families, said that they “remain open to a settlement and are hopeful a prompt resolution can be achieved to spare these families, and that of Jose Fernandez too, from any additional suffering.”

The lawyer for the Fernández family, Ralph Fernandez (no relation), believes it is “highly unlikely” that there will be a settlement in the suit, and he also has said that “there are indications that [Jose Fernandez’s] cocaine use that night was not voluntary.” Despite the lawsuits, however, the family is said to be in great spirits following the birth of Penelope. Ralph Fernandez spoke to ESPN earlier this week, saying that “this has been great for everyone. This is the only bit of good news in the past five months since the tragedy.”