"We were basically led to believe it was going to be meaningless and useless to bring a case in Romania at this particular time. I promised the mother if [the lawsuit] couldn't be brought in Romania I'd bring a case here in the United States," said Altschuler. "Whatever happens, at least we won't be wondering about a question of inherent fairness. In a U.S. court, you don't have to worry about that."
Hardy, 23, was a former Xavier High School star in Middletown, Conn., and one of only a few all-time thousand point scorers in Sacred Heart history.
After college, Hardy was recruited to play for the CSS Giurgiu basketball team in the Romanian Basketball Federation. Altschuler pointed out that Hardy was recruited in Middletown in person and through phone calls, emails and text messages. He signed his contract in Middletown August 27, 2011. Altschuler said that point is critical to claiming jurisdiction in Connecticut in order to file the federal lawsuit.
Hardy quickly asserted himself as a team leader, becoming captain of the team the same day he led the team to a big win over a cross-town rival. That night, the team decided to go out and celebrate their big win.
At the pub, Hardy was dancing with a girl. Her boyfriend noticed and was none too happy. The boyfriend, Ionut Adrian Tanasoaia, an alleged Romanian gang leader, punched Hardy in the face. There are conflicting reports that other patrons, connected to the gang, or "clan" as they are called in Romania, began kicking the unconscious Hardy while he was on the ground.
Altschuler said Hardy was punched so hard he suffered a fractured skull, two fractured discs in his neck and his face was a bloody mess.
Hardy was taken to the low-budget Giurgiu Hospital. The hospital treated Hardy as if he was an extremely inebriated patient needing to "sleep it off," explained Altschuler.
In reality, Hardy was in a coma. After 4 1/2 hours, Altschuler said, the hospital realized there might be something wrong with Hardy. He was transferred to the superior Bucharest Hospital where doctors tried saving his life but he suffered two heart attacks while on the operating table.
After the death, Romania's Health Minister Raed Arafat criticized the country's health care system and the lack of care provided to Hardy. He levied a fine against the Giurgiu Hospital for $11,200 and two doctors there for nearly $1,000 a piece. Arafat was later forced from office by the Romanian government because of the criticism, Altschuler explained.
Meanwhile, Hardy's assaulter, Tanasoaia, was arrested on charges of assault leading to death and public outrage. Tanasoaia was found not guilty of the serious assault charge and instead convicted of the lesser public outrage charge. He was sentenced to five years in jail.