And now that Hernandez technically no longer is guilty of murder, the question becomes whether the Patriots now owe the former tight end's family the money they withheld from him.
Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell last month, just days after he was acquitted of the 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
Douglas Sheff, the Boston lawyer representing Lloyd's mother Ursula Ward in a civil suit against Hernandez, said the reversal of the murder conviction "should not affect our case".
A MA judge has ruled to vacate Aaron Hernandez's murder conviction after Hernandez's suicide.
A judge vacated Hernandez's murder conviction because of a rule that says a conviction should be thrown out if someone dies while still appealing it. "Abatement has been practiced in state and federal courts for more than a century", Judge Susan Garsh said in delivering her ruling from the bench in Fall River.
Patrick Bomberg said Hernandez "should not be able to accomplish in death what he could not accomplish in life".
Abatement has generally been recognized in MA even in high-profile cases of suicide.More news: Turkey slams U.S. 'unacceptable' weapons supply to Kurdish fighters
Noting that Hernandez had left his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, a note that included the phrase "you're rich", Quinn said the suicide may have been meant to help his family protect assets.
State police said in an investigative report that Hernandez was found naked on April 19 and hanging from a bed sheet tied around the window bars of his cell. They said his conviction wasn't considered final because the automatic appeal he was entitled to had not been heard at the time of his death.
The ruling comes almost three weeks after Hernandez killed himself. That makes it tougher for the plaintiffs to prove Hernandez was at fault for Lloyd's death.
Thompson says he has recent correspondence from Hernandez in which the former New England Patriots tight end said he was interested in pursuing an appeal.
Hernandez's lead attorney in his recent double murder trial, Jose Baez, has pledged to do an independent investigation into his death. Hernandez's appeal was still pending when he hanged himself in his cell at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Mass. He was cut from the team hours after his arrest in the killing of Lloyd.
Aaron Hernandez's prison suicide has unraveled a mess of legal confusion.