BOSTON (CBS) – A federal judge has ruled that the family of one of Whitey Bulger’s alleged victims can go ahead with a lawsuit against FBI agents.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

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In a ruling issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge William Young said Michael Donahue’s family can sue agents who protected Bulger while he was an informant.

But that doesn’t mean Donahue’s family will get a lot of money.

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“The reality of this decision is that it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to collect from the agents. There’s that old expression about getting blood from a stone and it’s certainly going to be a lot more difficult to collect against individuals,” David Frank of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Friday.

“Civil lawsuits are about money, but this is also about sending messages. It’s also about having your ‘day in court.’”

Donahue was killed in 1982 giving a ride home to one of Bulger’s targets, Brian Halloran.

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In 2009, the Donahues were awarded $6 million after the federal government was found liable for Michael Donahue’s death, but an appeals court threw out the ruling saying the statute of limitations had expired.