Type of action: Wrongful death
Injuries alleged: Traumatic brain injury resulting in death
Name of case: Love v. Huguely
Court: Charlottesville Circuit Court
Case no.: CL 18-648
Date resolved: 5/2/2022
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Paul Bekman, Baltimore, Maryland; Jeffrey Stedman and Irvin Cantor, Richmond; Kevin Biniazan, Virginia Beach
Description of case: Yeardley Love first met George Huguely V during their freshman year at the University of Virginia (UVa.), where both played lacrosse. By the spring of 2010, the couple had been dating for two years—but friends witnessed a relationship that was rocky and, at times, abusive.
In April 2010, toward the end of their senior year, Love ended the relationship for good.
On May 2, 2010, after a day of heavy drinking, Huguely entered Love’s off-campus apartment, kicked open her locked bedroom door, violently shook her and assaulted her.
When Love’s roommate arrived home early the next morning, she found Love unresponsive. Medical examiners determined that Love died from blunt force trauma to her head.
When questioned by police, Huguely provided information that corroborated his presence in Yeardley Love’s bedroom and physical contact that ultimately led to her death. When police informed Huguely that Yeardley Love was deceased, he claimed to be unaware of her passing. Later, Huguely claimed to lack memory of his actions and crimes. But regardless of Huguely’s claimed memory loss of his crimes, a jury held Huguely responsible for Love’s death, convicting him of second-degree murder and sentencing him to 23 years in prison.
Huguely’s earliest possible release date is May 2030.
The Love family was represented by a team of attorneys including Paul Bekman, Jeffrey Stedman and Irvin Cantor. As the case neared a trial in April 2022, Kevin Biniazan was added to the team to serve as trial counsel.
On May 2, 2022, a jury awarded $7.5 million each in compensatory damages to Sharon Love and Lexi Love Hodges, and found Huguely’s conduct did amount to willful and wanton conduct. The verdict provides much-needed closure to their 12-year ordeal. In closing arguments, Biniazan told jurors they couldn’t consider Huguely’s drinking a mitigating factor for his conduct. In other words, his voluntary intoxication in no way diminished his responsibility for Love’s death.
Sharon and Lexi expressed relief at the verdict. Although no amount of money will bring Yeardley Love back, holding Huguely both criminally and civilly liable for her death can provide some measure of justice. No appeal was filed by Huguely.
One of the plaintiff’s law firms provided case information.[022-T-138]