The day started out promising for Chauncey Hardy, a former Sacred Heart University basketball star who was playing professionally in Romania.
It was October 9, 2011, and he was just named captain of his team. That night they played rival Bucharest. Hardy scored 22 points, his favorite number and led his team to a big victory.
Several hours later he was dead; beaten to death in a local pub.
For the past year, Hardy's family has been looking for answers. They have been looking for justice for their son.
According to their lawyer, Richard Altschuler, of West Haven, Conn., both have been hard to come by. So they decided to take a rare approach. The family filed a lawsuit in federal court in Connecticut against the Romanian Basketball Federation, a Romanian hospital, two doctors, his basketball coach and team and the alleged gang member who sucker-punched Hardy in a bar.
"I think it's the only option," said Altschuler. "We did contact Romanian lawyers and were deterred on various grounds. They just didn't think it'd be worth it. The sense is that we couldn't get justice in Romania."
Allegations in the 18-count lawsuit include assault, breach of contract, negligence, medical malpractice, misrepresentation, and violations of Connecticut's Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA).
Hardy's mother, Olamae, the rest of his family and Altschuler are seeking $210 million in damages.
Despite filing the lawsuit to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Hardy's death earlier this month, Altschuler expects it to be a few months before the defendants are even served with the complaint.
Altschuler explained that in order to serve the Romanian defendants they must follow the guidelines in the Hague Service Convention. Under the convention, the participating countries use a standardized form. By the time a designated person in that country arranges for the service of process, it takes two to four months.