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  • Wrongful Death – Woman Murdered by Ex-Boyfriend After Psychiatric Facility Fails to Notify Her of His Release: Duncan v. Sparrow Hospital Association

Sommers Schwartz attorneys Matthew Turner and Jay Yasso filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate of a woman who was shot and killed by her dangerous and unstable ex-boyfriend after the defendants prematurely discharged him from their psychiatric facility without notifying her. 

According to the complaint, the ex-boyfriend had threatened and engaged in acts of violence against the woman before his involuntary admission to the defendants’ facility. Specifically, he took her to his apartment against her will and, while brandishing a handgun, threatened to kill her and himself. After he released her, she immediately reported the kidnapping to the authorities.

The police arrested the man that evening, and he was involuntarily committed to the defendant hospital. Throughout the man’s commitment, hospital physicians and staff expressed their concerns that he represented a threat to himself and others if released. Notwithstanding these concerns and their specific knowledge of his prior threats, the defendants discharged him and neither notified the police or informed his ex-girlfriend – whom he had previously kidnapped and threatened to kill – about his release.

Soon after his release, the man sought and obtained a handgun. Immediately after acquiring the gun, he went to his ex-girlfriend’s workplace. He then shot and killed her before turning the gun on himself – just as he had previously threatened to do. 

As alleged in the complaint, the defendants breached their duty under Michigan law to notify the police and warn the decedent of her ex-boyfriend’s release, given his prior threats against her and continued risk of violence. 

In the wrongful death suit, the decedent’s estate seeks compensation for funeral expenses, her pain and suffering, her family’s loss of earnings, financial support and companionship, and other damages.

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