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Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Parents File Lawsuit Against Vanderbilt After Son’s Suicide

Parents File Lawsuit Against Vanderbilt After Son’s Suicide


Suicide lawsuits against universities are very difficult to win. Nonetheless, more of them are being filed now than at any other time before. While it’s true that universities have a duty of care to ensure that their students get the medical attention they need, they must be on notice that the student has an issue. If they are not, then the university can claim that they had no duty of care to a student that they didn’t realize was in crisis.

Ultimately, proving what the university knew at the time is only the first step. You must establish that the university failed to render assistance that could have helped the student. Failing that, you must establish that the university substantially contributed to the student’s emotional state.

According to the lawsuit, the student attempted suicide in November of 2021. He then completed a suicide attempt in June of 2022. The parents claim that the university not only knew about the student’s situation but also covered up information that would have implicated them in his death.

Unlicensed therapist among complaints 

The parents claim that their son was treated by an unlicensed therapist who did not properly care for him. The university is further accused of destroying records including security footage from the day of the suicide and intake forms related to the patient.

The biggest problem for the plaintiffs is that under state law, they only have one year to file a wrongful death claim against the university. They allowed the year to elapse. However, if they can establish that the university hid information pertinent to their suit, they can get the case reopened. At this point, however, they are representing themselves. If they can get the motion to pass summary dismissal, then an attorney may be more inclined to take their case.

The allegations are disturbing. The complaint alleges that the therapist dismissed the student’s suicidal ideation and encouraged him to commit suicide as “an act of love”. The complaint also states that university employees watched the student try to hang himself and didn’t report it until the next day.

The complaint alleges deliberate indifference to the boy’s life and discrimination on the basis of the ADA.

Will the lawsuit succeed? 

It can only succeed if the plaintiffs allege and provide enough evidence that the university attempted to hide relevant information related to the case which resulted in a delay in filing. If so, the statute of limitations can be tolled and then you end up with depositions, uncomfortable questions, and a systematic review of everything that happened. Ultimately, that’s what the parents want. But they’ll have to fight to get it.

Talk to a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Gillette Law represents the interests of Jacksonville residents who have been injured by negligence. Call our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin discussing your lawsuit immediately.



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