Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly – January 25, 2010

$6.4 million (Negligence & Tort)
Administrator of the Estate of Beauregard v. Knight

Middlesex Superior Court
Date of Verdict: Nov 9, 2009
Plaintiff’s attorneys: Michael Talty, Talty & Talty, Lowell; Kerry A. Ahern, Law office of Kerry A. Ahern, Lowell
Status of verdict: Post-trial motions

Marc Beauregard was found dead in a Lowell park in the summer of 2003. His former live–in boyfriend, Steven Knight, did not seem particularly upset; instead, he began cashing backdated checks in the dead man’s name.

Knight was never indicted in connection with Beauregard’s death. In 2006, just before the statute of limitations ran out, Beauregard’s family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the ex-boyfriend, alleging that he had killed Beauregard – who had recently put Knight in his will – for money.

During the eight-day trial, Knight contradicted his own statements about where he was on the night of Beauregard’s death. Although he initially told police he had not been in Lowell on the evening in question, Knight revealed on the stand that he had, in fact, been there twice that night, first to ask a friend if she wanted to go to the beach and later to stop in a secluded area with his new boyfriend, not far from the spot where Beauregard’s body was found.

The jury deliberated for less than two days before finding that Knight had played a “substantial” role in Beauregard’s murder and awarding his family $6 million.

Michael Talty, who represented the family, says that lurid facts of the lawsuit made trying it a challenge.

“Because it was a sensational case, we felt that it was important to balance respect for the decedent with portraying the facts in the light that we wanted to,” he says. [But] it was clear that the case needed to be tried once enough time passed without an indictment.”

As to whether Knight will ever be criminally charged with Beauregard’s death, Talty say, “From what I understand, the investigation is still open.”

- Julia Reischel
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