A labor judge in Brazil has ordered esports organization Imperial to pay damages of 400,000 Brazilian reais, or $74,000, to the family of Matheus ‘bruttJ’ Queiroz, a CS:GO player who died in 2019.
bruttJ, 19, passed away in a hospital in Rio de Janeiro on December 15, 2019, due to an unspecified central nervous system infection. A week earlier, he had left Imperial’s gaming house, located in São Paulo, after complaining of headaches, returning to Rio de Janeiro to recover near his family.
Brazilian labor judge Patricia Almeida Ramos determined that, by failing to fulfill its legal and contractual obligations regarding health, Imperial had “indirectly contributed” to bruttJ’s death.
Ramos argued that Imperial failed to create a “healthy, safe and comfortable” work environment and did not provide “any sort of assistance” to bruttJ when his health began to deteriorate. During his brief stay in Imperial’s gaming house, bruttJ was admitted to hospitals on several occasions, where doctors could not diagnose the illness.
According to the labor judge, from the moment bruttJ joined Imperial and started living in their gaming house, his health became “a legal and contractual obligation” for the company as there was no separation between his professional activities and his personal life.
“The structure of the gaming house left a lot to be desired, to the point that the athlete could not eat healthily or sleep properly,” Ramos wrote in the ruling. “It is obvious that, in this situation, he could not improve physically, which became visible to everyone who was in contact with him, because of the three or four trips to public hospitals in a very short space of time.
“All this happened without the participation of Imperial, despite its legal and contractual obligations. Its responsibility, including for what happened, is unquestionable.”
bruttJ’s family had sued the player’s former teams, Reapers and Imperial, for negligence, saying that the two organizations should be held responsible for the health of their athletes.
In Monday’s ruling, the judge stressed that it is not possible to determine that bruttJ would be alive if Imperial had fulfilled its obligations. “But at the same time, it is not possible to say otherwise,” Ramos stated.
“By choosing not to comply with the specific legislation, nor with the terms of the employment contract kept with Mr. Matheus, Imperial assumed the risk of being held responsible in case of eventual damage suffered by the athlete, regardless of having caused it,” the judge added.
Imperial to lodge appeal
In a statement, José Augusto Rodrigues Jr., the attorney who represented Imperial in this case, said that the organization will appeal against the ruling. According to him, Imperial fulfilled all its obligations and “provided assistance, including to the family”.
“The player provided services for approximately 40 days only, and it would not even be reasonable for the company to have been the cause of his illness and death,” he wrote.
Founded in 2018 by former CS:GO player Felippe ‘felippe1’ Martins, Imperial made headlines in February 2022 with the signing of Last Dance, a Brazilian CS:GO lineup featuring a trio of two-time Major champions in Gabriel ‘FalleN’ Toledo, Fernando ‘fer’ Alvarenga and Lincoln ‘fnx’ Lau.
The team, which has an average age of 28.6 years, went on to qualify for PGL Major Antwerp, where it placed 9th-11th.