Brazilian organization Imperial Esports’ appeal against a prior conviction surrounding the death of professional Counter-Strike player Matheus “brutt” Queiroz was denied on May 26 as Brazilian courts upheld the $64,870 USD (R$400,000) compensation owed.
Brutt died on Dec. 15, 2019, aged 19, from a central nervous system infection after multiple days in the hospital, as reported by globo.com. He had been an up-and-coming AWPer within the Brazilian scene and signed with Imperial Esports just one month prior in Nov. 2019 ahead of the ESL One Road to Rio tournaments in early 2020.
Following his sudden death, Brutt’s family filed civil, criminal, and labor lawsuits against both Imperial Esports and Team Reapers—his prior organization—with Imperial ultimately convicted of labor violations in July 2022.
Translated from Portuguese, the 69th Labor Court of São Paulo determined the team “did not provide a healthy, safe, and comfortable environment for the players who were under its command, contrary not only to the legislation on the matter but also to the clause adhered to the employment contract.”
Furthermore, the court found that Imperial failed to provide the player with any assistance to deal with his symptoms, with him at times being accompanied to hospitals by underaged teammates and teammates’ girlfriends with no representatives of the organization present.
Due to this, the court found a link between Imperial violating their legal and contractual obligations to brutt and his death, stating “it was clear that the company, by ignoring its obligations, indirectly collaborated for what happened, and therefore is legally liable” in the labor lawsuit.
Imperial was ordered to pay moral damages to brutt’s family in compensation for their negligence which totaled approximately $65,000 USD (R$400,000) split between his two parents and two brothers.
Following the case, Imperial Esports appealed the decision only for a unanimous vote of three judges to reaffirm it on May 26, 2023.
The judges stated that as soon as brutt began living and working at Imperial’s gaming house his “health and physical integrity became a legal and contractual obligation of the company“ and that Imperial had shown “negligence and disregard for the health problems that manifested when the athlete was part of his team.”
Following the decision brutt’s family released a statement saying “The Court, with wisdom and in an emblematic decision, confirmed Imperial’s contumacious negligence regarding the life and health of [brutt], so that it must now indemnify the family. The family, at this moment, feels a sense of relief for the Justice that has been done.”
Imperial Esports could appeal yet again to the Superior Labor Court, the highest labor court in Brazil, however, this seems unlikely.
Since brutt’s death, Imperial Esports has become a much more well-known organization on the global stage in Counter-Strike, attending both the IEM Rio Major and the PGL Major Antwerp in 2022 as well as four additional IEM tournaments and competing in ESL Pro League Season 17. The team is notably currently captained by legendary Brazilian pro, Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo who joined in Feb. 2022.