No Big Paydays for OJ Simpson anytime soon

Now that the juice is going to be loose after being granted parole by the state of Nevada, many people are speculating that Mr. Simpson may be in line for a big pay day.  He may well get offers, but he won’t be able to see much of money if any. 

Let’s go back 20 years to understand why OJ will not be able to keep much of any money he earns.   In early 1997, the family of Ronald Goldman won a civil lawsuit against him for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson.   The Goldman’s were awarded $8.5 million in compensatory damages, and $25 million in punitive damages – to be split between the Goldman’s and Nicole’s children.  Although some money was collected against the judgment, the balance ballooned to over $40 million, with interest, while OJ was in jail and the judgment sat unpaid. 

Why doesn’t OJ just declare bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is not needed.  Most of OJ’s assets were sold off to pay for his legal defense before the judgement was rendered.  After losing his California house to foreclosure,Mr. Simpson relocated to Florida, which is among the few states where a person’s primary residence cannot be seized to pay judgments. 

Doesn’t OJ get retirement income from his 10 years in the NFL?

Yes, OJ gets an estimated $25,000 per month from his defined benefit plan form the NFL, which is estimated to be valued over $4 million.  Certain retirement assets can remain protected from creditors and OJ’s pension plan is one of them – in other words, the Goldman’s cannot grab it.   Despite O.J.’s $40 million liability, under bankruptcy law, the former star’s defined benefit plan is protected from the Goldman and Brown families. The judgement falls under section 523(a)(6) of the bankruptcy code.  OJ’s act of killing Nicole and Ronald Goldman was so malicious, the financial harm he caused cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. 

Will the Goldman’s ever collect on the judgement?

That is the $40 million dollar question.  In today’s marketplace were realty TV stars make millions, it is possible for OJ to make strides towards paying back the judgement.  At 70 years old, however, it is debatable whether OJ would be willing to put in the work necessary to satisfy the judgement or he could just sit back and collect on his pension income and play as many rounds of golf he can.

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