The parents of an Ohio college student who committed suicide in 2008 have accused the university he attended of failing to prevent his death despite being warned of its possibility. The couple's wrongful death lawsuit alleges that campus police were alerted to the student's suicidal behavior but failed to protect him from harming himself.
The lawsuit claims that campus officers should have been aware of the student's risk for suicide, having responded to a call two months prior to his death in which he attempted suicide by overdosing on medication. The student's parents say that though campus policy required the responding officers to inform the campus wellness center of the incident, a report was never submitted.
When the 20-year-old student threatened to attempt suicide again, his roommates phoned campus police in order to alert them to the crisis. Officers arrived at the scene, but left after determining that there was no risk of suicide. Two of those officers had responded to the student's previous attempt to kill himself. Soon after they left, the student suffocated himself by covering his head in a bag and inhaling helium from a tank. His parents say the officers were aware of the tank, but failed to take appropriate action to stop the suicide.
The university says it is not responsible for the student's death, as his death occurred due to his "own intentional actions." They also claimed the officers were engaged in public duties, also making them immune from liability.
Wrongful death lawsuits allow the families of individuals who died due to the negligent actions of another party to collect compensation for the pain and misery caused by the death of their loved ones. It is unclear how much in damages the plaintiff in this Ohio case is requesting.
Source: Columbus Dispatch, "Parents sue Wright State over son's 2008 suicide," Randy Ludlow, May 11, 2012