WOODBURY - The family of murdered Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero may see their federal lawsuit against Suffolk County and its police department tossed away on a technicality.

Marcelo Lucero was killed in a hate crime in Patchogue in 2004. The family filed a $40 million lawsuit back in Nov. 2010 with legal help from the group Hispanics Across America.

Lucero's loved ones are only just learning now that those papers were filed in the wrong office, and technically the lawsuit isn't on file. Legally, too much time has passed to file another suit.

The lawsuit blames Suffolk County and its police force for Lucero's death. It says the department knew the "killer teenagers" were out assaulting and robbing immigrants, but did nothing to stop them.

Lucero's brother, Joselo Lucero, says he is hoping a federal judge will look past the legal mistake.