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Shawne Merriman sued for wrongful death

Mike Florio

Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman has been named as a defendant in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the estate of a woman who died of a drug overdose in 2017.

According to TMZ.com, the parents of Kimberly Fattorini have alleged that Merriman drugged and possibly assaulted her before she died of a drug overdose. The death, ruled accidental at the time, determined that Fattorini died due to an overdose of alcohol, cocaine, and GHB, commonly known as a date-rape drug.

The family contends that the allegations will be supported by text messages and other evidence that they believe will show Merriman gave Fattorini GHB. Text messages that apparently will be used as evidence in the case allegedly include one person saying “Shawn killed her ass, what a f–king idiot” and another person saying of Merriman, “That dumbass been drugging girls for years.”

“As of right now Shawne, nor his attorney, have any knowledge of him being named in any lawsuit,” Merriman’s representative told TMZ.com. “This alleged lawsuit is baseless. Shawne attended an after party more than two years ago where a young woman unfortunately overdosed. . . . The police thoroughly investigated and found no wrongdoing whatsoever by Shawne. The fact that they are raising this now, two years after the fact, demonstrates the baseless nature of these allegations.”

Actually, the fact that the lawsuit was filed two years after the fact shows merely that the lawyers decided to wait until the eve of the applicable statute of limitations to file the lawsuit; the delayed filing is irrelevant to the merit of the lawsuit or lack thereof. It’s possible that the lawyers tried to resolve the case without filing suit, recognizing that keeping claims like this from ever becoming public has value when it comes to determining a fair settlement amount — and waiting until the last possible moment to make the allegations formal and public.

It’s not surprising that Merriman and his lawyer aren’t yet aware the lawsuit was filed. There’s usually a lag between the filing of a lawsuit and service of the summons and complaint on the defendant. If, as TMZ.com reports, a lawsuit was filed, Merriman will be getting a copy of it soon enough.