DEDICATION:

This blog is dedicated to "The Children Left Behind." We will not rest until the safety of our children and those that are entrusted with their mental health care are held accountable for abusing the children's God given rights, those rights upheld by our constitution, and those that have been complicit in obfuscating the truth!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

DIAMOND RANCH ACADEMY: GRIEVING PARENTS FILE NEGLIGENCE LAWSUIT

Editorial:

Hurricane, Utah--Diamond Ranch Academy (DRA) appears entrenched in yet another horrific lawsuit. Parents, still grieving the loss of their son who perished while under DRA's care, are suing the facility. 

In September of 2013, a young man took his life by hanging himself (utilizing a 'belt' his parents state was supplied by DRA to a 'suicidal child') over a non-collapsible shower rod (Utah's Department of Human Services cited DRA after the young man's death and DRA installed collapsible shower rods.)
http://jilliestake.blogspot.com/2013/11/diamond-ranch-academy-confirmation.html

Questions arise: 
  • Why was a previously diagnosed suicidal child even considered as an applicant and admitted? Admission guidelines? Even some of the most notoriously abusive facilities have stated they do not accept children with former or current suicidal ideations. 
  • Qualifications of DRA? A contracted-out, adjunct, forensic psychologist with offices in Utah and Nevada?  FACT: DRA is NOT a mental health facility, nor are they licensed or qualified as such.
Well-deserved lawsuit? Read DRA's 'amended answer to the complaint,' below and decide for oneself.

According to the DRA attorney's 'amended answer to the complaint,' [they]blame the death of this suicidal child (citing his age of 16), on the child himself, his mental health issues, and his parents. 
  
Additionally, DRA attorneys deny in their filing that the child was unsupervised. Who thought this one up? So, logic dictates that if the child was supervised... how in hell did this happen?

THE COMPLAINT:
     (Note: reformatted for viewing, every effort was made to remove family identifiers)

Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 2 Filed 03/29/16 Page 1 of 12

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION----- ------ -------  and------- --------, individually and as the natural parents and heirs of
M.L., a minor, deceased,
Plaintiffs,
vs.
DIAMOND RANCH ACADEMY, a
corporation,
Defendant.


COMPLAINT AND JURY
DEMAND
Civil No. ____________
Honorable ________________
Plaintiffs, ---- ------- ------- and ------- -------, individually and as the natural parents and heirs of M.L., a deceased minor, by and through their counsel of record, Dewsnup, King & Olsen, hereby complain of Diamond Ranch Academy and allege the following:


 Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 2 Filed 03/29/16 Page 2 of 12

 PARTIES

1. M.L., a deceased minor child, resided in Hurricane, Utah, at the time of his death but was a citizen of Colorado and was domiciled there. M.L. is the son of ---- ------- ------- and ------- ------- (the “--------”).
2. Plaintiff ---- ------- ------- is the natural father of M.L., a minor who was sixteen years old at the time of the incident that gives rise to this action. ---- ------- ------- is a citizen of Colorado.
3. Plaintiff ------ - ------- is the natural mother of M.L. and is a citizen of Colorado.
4. Diamond Ranch Academy (“DRA”) is a Utah corporation with its principal place of business in Hurricane, Utah.


JURISDICTION


5. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332because there is complete diversity of citizenship between Plaintiffs and Defendant and because the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.
6. Plaintiffs have complied with all requirements of Utah Code Annotated, §§78B-3-401, et seq., in order to bring an action against Diamond Ranch Academy pursuant to the Utah Health Care Malpractice Act.


Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 2 Filed 03/29/16 Page 3 of 12

 GENERAL ALLEGATIONS OF FACT

7. DRA is a residential treatment center and therapeutic boarding school in Hurricane, Utah, for troubled youth between the ages of 12 and 18.
8. DRA holds itself out as “an industry leader in helping youth realize their potential.” It represents that its students “become their best selves in a structured elite private school environment with a personalized therapeutic approach” and promises that “[t]he challenges you are facing with your child today do not need to limit the possibilities of tomorrow.”
9. DRA employs, among others, licensed clinical social workers. DRA’s theme is “Healing Families One Youth at a Time.”
10. M.L. was a sixteen-year-old boy who suffered from severe depression and had a history of suicide attempts.
11. Before M.L.’s enrollment at DRA, he attempted suicide twice. On one occasion M.L. tried to take his own life by hanging himself by the neck in the shower.
12. M.L.’s parents, the --------, were very worried about their son’s safety, not knowing what he was capable of doing in the future. They felt helpless not knowing what they could do to help their son.
13. The -------- sought an intervention treatment provider that could effectively care for their son and keep him safe.
14. In their search for a provider, the ------- came in contact with DRA.


Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 2 Filed 03/29/16 Page 4 of 12

15. DRA assured the -------- that if they enrolled M.L. at DRA, DRA would care for M.L. and keep him safe, and that DRA’s program would help him overcome his hardships.
16. DRA also assured the -------- that DRA staff were trained to keep and capable of keeping M.L. safe from suicide attempts.
17. DRA further assured the -------- that the DRA facility was a safe place for their son.
18. In furtherance of keeping M.L. safe, DRA told the -------- that M.L.’s bedroom would be under constant video surveillance.
19. DRA also told the -------- that DRA personnel would, at all times, be monitoring the video surveillance images of M.L.’s bedroom.
20. Video camera surveillance equipment was present in M.L.’s bedroom during M.L.’s residence at DRA, including the day he committed suicide.
21. The DRA Parent Manual states in part: “Our program is proven effective – and we guarantee it – when the program is followed closely and when the parentssupport it completely.”
22. The DRA Parent Manual further states: “We recognize how difficult a decision it was to intervene on your child’s behalf. We also recognize how difficult it is toplace the care of you child in the hands of another. Please take comfort in knowing that we take our responsibility very seriously.”


 Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 2 Filed 03/29/16 Page 5 of 12

23. On June 23, 2013, relying on DRA’s assurances that M.L. would be properly supervised and kept safe, the -------- enrolled M.L. at DRA, and M.L. moved into the facility.
24. On June 23, 2013, the day M.L. was enrolled at DRA, ------- ------- gave DRA a summary of M.L.’s suicide attempts. This summary included an account that M.L. had previously attempted suicide by hanging himself in the shower.
25. M.L.’s pre-participation physical evaluation also noted his suicide attempt history.
26. DRA knew of M.L.’s need for supervision and treatment.
27. On July 18, 2013, DRA took M.L. off of self-harm watch.
28. On August 7, 2013, M.L. was psychologically evaluated by C.Y. Roby, Ph.D., NCCE (“Dr. Roby”), at DRA’s request.
29. On August 30, 2013, DRA received Dr. Roby’s report.
30. Dr. Roby’s report indicated that M.L. was at risk for suicide and/or self-injurious behavior. Dr. Roby strongly recommended that this risk be taken seriously.
31. In addition to having Dr. Roby’s report, DRA was in possession of and had read M.L.’s journals containing a drawing of a boy hanging from the neck.
32. On September 6, 2013, M.L. attended a football game pep rally in the DRA gym. While there, he was visibly upset and seen crying by another DRA student. When the pep rally concluded, M.L. left the gym unsupervised and unaccounted for. 


Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 2 Filed 03/29/16 Page 6 of 12

33. After the pep rally, at approximately 4:22 p.m., M.L. entered his bedroom unsupervised.
34. At approximately 4:36 p.m., M.L. reviewed a suicide note he had written.
35. At approximately 4:38 p.m., M.L. entered his bathroom with his suicide note in hand and closed the door. He was clothed and wearing the belt DRA sold to him.
36. At approximately 5:01 p.m., while giving prospective clients a tour of the facilities and M.L.’s room, a DRA staff member opened the bathroom door and discovered M.L. hanging by the neck from a non-breakaway shower rod with the belt DRA sold to him.
37. When the staff member discovered M.L. and saw him hanging from the shower rod, he closed the bathroom door and ushered the prospective clients away.
38. Moments after the first staff member opened and closed the door on M.L., another staff member opened the bathroom door, looked at M.L., closed the door on him again, and walked away.
39. M.L. was left hanging from his neck until approximately 5:04 p.m., when DRA staff removed him from the hanging position and then administered CPR.
40. Approximately 2 ½ minutes passed between the time M.L. was discovered and the time he was removed from the shower rod.
41. Ultimately, M.L. was left unsupervised for a total of 39 minutes.
42. Two days later, on September 8, 2013, M.L. died as a result of the injuries he sustained from his September 6, 2013 suicide attempt.


Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 2 Filed 03/29/16 Page 7 of 12

FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF

(Negligence/Knowing and Reckless Indifference)

43. Plaintiffs incorporate the previous paragraphs as if fully set forth herein.
44. DRA was acting in loco parentis and had a special legal relationship with M.L.
45. DRA had a duty to exercise reasonable care in the treatment and supervision of M.L.
46. DRA knew that M.L. had a history of attempted suicide and that M.L.’s suicidal condition should be taken seriously.
47. DRA knew that leaving M.L. unsupervised involved an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm that such a lack of supervision presented to M.L.’s life and safety.
48. Despite DRA’s knowledge of the risks that the lack of supervision of M.L. presented, DRA recklessly allowed M.L. to remain alone and unsupervised for more than thirty minutes, behind a closed door in a bathroom with a non-breakaway shower rod, with a belt to hang himself with.
49. DRA breached the duty that it owed to M.L. and the --------, thereby creating a substantial risk of, and in fact causing, serious bodily injury and death to M.L.
50. DRA’s breaches of duty included, among other things:
a. Failing to provide M.L. with adequate supervision and care;


Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 2 Filed 03/29/16 Page 8 of 12

b. Failing to provide and/or follow policies and procedures related to supervision and care of M.L., its suicidal patient, including but not limited to its line-of-sight policy;
c. Failing to properly assess, document, and treat M.L.’s suicidal condition;
d. Failing to appropriately train staff;
e. Failing to install breakaway shower rods and shower heads in
M.L.’s bathroom;
f. Failing to heed Dr. Roby’s report and take M.L.’s risk of suicide seriously;
g. Providing M.L. with the belt he hanged himself with; and
h. Not acting immediately when it discovered M.L. but instead putting its public relations ahead of M.L.’s life.
51. DRA’s acts and omissions manifested a knowing and reckless indifference toward and a disregard of the rights of others, including M.L. and the --------.
52. As a direct and proximate result of DRA’s acts and omissions, Plaintiffs have suffered and will continue to suffer the loss of the relationship with their son, causing them extreme mental and emotional anguish; loss of the care, comfort,
companionship, society, guidance, love, affection, association, services and support of their son; and the permanent destruction of their family unit. 


Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 2 Filed 03/29/16 Page 9 of 12

53. As a direct and proximate result of DRA’s acts and omissions, M.L. suffered severe physical pain, discomfort, loss of enjoyment of life, and death, and the -------- incurred medical expenses prior to M.L.’s untimely death and have incurred funeral and burial expenses as a result of his death.

SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF
(Breach of Fiduciary Duty)


54. Plaintiffs incorporate the previous paragraphs as if fully set forth herein.
55. DRA owed a fiduciary duty to Plaintiffs and/or their son.
56. DRA breached the fiduciary duty it owed to Plaintiffs and/or their son.
57. As a direct and proximate result of DRA’s acts and omissions, Plaintiffs have suffered and will continue to suffer the loss of the relationship with their son, causing them extreme mental and emotional anguish; loss of the care, comfort,
companionship, society, guidance, love, affection, association, services and support of their son; and the permanent destruction of their family unit.
58. As a direct and proximate result of DRA’s acts and omissions, M.L. suffered severe physical pain, discomfort, loss of enjoyment of life, and death, and the -------- incurred medical expenses prior to M.L.’s untimely death and have incurred funeral and burial expenses as a result of his death.


THIRD CLAIM FOR RELIEF
(Premises Liability)


59. Plaintiffs incorporate the previous paragraphs as if fully set forth herein.


Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 2 Filed 03/29/16 Page 10 of 12

60. M.L. was DRA’s invitee.
61. DRA owed M.L. a duty of care to eliminate unreasonably dangerous conditions on its property and to take reasonable measures to ensure a safe physical environment in the DRA facility.
62. DRA was aware that the shower rods in the DRA facility were non breakaway types and that the presence of such shower rods presented a dangerous
condition to its invitee, M.L.
63. Given M.L.’s history of suicide attempts and Dr. Roby’s evaluation, DRA should have expected that M.L. would have encountered and been harmed by, or would fail to protect himself from this dangerous condition of non-breakaway shower rods in the DRA bathrooms.
64. Three days after M.L.’s death, on September 11, 2013, the Utah Department of Human Services determined that DRA was in violation of Utah Admin. Code R501-19-7.B.2 for failing to provide a safe physical environment for consumers.
This violation was due in part to the presence of permanently affixed shower rods in the DRA facility bathrooms.
65. DRA breached its duty to its invitee, M.L., and failed to exercise reasonable care by:
a. Failing to prevent or rectify the unreasonably dangerous condition of non-breakaway shower rods on the property, which was a proximate cause of M.L.’s injury and death; and 


Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 2 Filed 03/29/16 Page 11 of 12

b. Failing to protect its invitee, M.L., from the unsafe condition and hazard of non-breakaway shower rods and shower heads on the property.
66. As a direct and proximate result of DRA’s breach of duty, M.L. was subjected to the dangerous conditions on DRA’s property that contributed to M.L.’s
injury and death.
67. As a direct and proximate result of DRA’s negligence, Plaintiffs have suffered and will continue to suffer the loss of the relationship with their son, causing them extreme mental and emotional anguish; loss of the care, comfort, companionship,
society, guidance, love, affection, association, services and support of their son; and thepermanent destruction of their family unit.
68. As a direct and proximate result of DRA’s negligence, M.L. suffered severe physical pain, discomfort, loss of enjoyment of life, and death, and the -------- incurred medical expenses prior to his untimely death, and have incurred funeral and
burial expenses as a result of his death.


PRAYER FOR RELIEF


WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for judgment against Defendant, DRA, as follows:


1. For general damages in an amount to be proved at trial;
2. For special damages in an amount to be proved at trial;


Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 2 Filed 03/29/16 Page 12 of 12

3. For punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish DRA and to deter DRA and others in similar situations from engaging in such conduct in the future; and
4. For such other costs, expenses, attorney’s fees, and other relief the Court finds appropriate under the circumstances.


JURY DEMAND


Plaintiffs hereby demand a trial by jury.
DATED this 29th day of March, 2016.


DEWSNUP, KING & OLSEN
/s/ Charles T. Conrad
David R. Olsen
Paul M. Simmons
Charles T. Conrad


Attorney for Plaintiffs
Plaintiffs’ Address:
c/o DEWSNUP, KING & OLSEN
36 S. State Street, Suite 2400
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111



AMENDED ANSWER TO COMPLAINT:

(Note: reformatted for viewing, every effort was made to remove family identifiers)

Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 7 Filed 04/26/16 Page 1 of 8

Gregory J. Sanders, USB No. 2858
Sarah C. Vaughn, USB No. 14615
KIPP AND CHRISTIAN, P.C.
Attorney for Defendants
10 Exchange Place, 4th Floor
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
gjsanders@kippandchristian.com
svaughn@kippandchristian.com
Telephone: (801) 521-3773


IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION---- ------- ------- and ------- - -------, AND HEIRS OF M.L., a minor, deceased,
Plaintiff,
v.
DIAMOND RANCH ACADEMY, a corporation
Defendants.


Civil No. 2:16-CV-00252-BCW


AMENDED ANSWER OF DEFENDANT


Discovery Tier 3
Defendant, by and through counsel, hereby answers the complaint of plaintiff as follows:


FIRST DEFENSE
Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.


SECOND DEFENSE
The following responses correspond numerically to the allegations of the complaint:
1.-3. Admitted subject to discovery showing otherwise.
4. Admitted 

Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 7 Filed 04/26/16 Page 2 of 8

5.-6. Admitted.
7. Admitted with the addition that the school is licensed to treat people older than 18 years of age.
8. Admitted.
9. Admitted.
10. Admitted M.L. was 16 years old and had mental health issues. The allegation is otherwise denied.
11. Admitted that suicide attempts were reported. Otherwise denied for insufficient information.
12.-13. Denied for insufficient information.
14. Admitted.
15. Admitted.
16. Denied.
17. Admitted consistent with published material. Otherwise denied as vague.
18. Denied.
19. Denied.
20. Admitted.
21. Admitted only that the manual contains that statement. Denied that it is relevant here where M.L. did not complete the programs and the parents were not supportive.
22 Admitted.
23. Admitted only that he was enrolled. The allegation is otherwise denied for 

Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 7 Filed 04/26/16 Page 3 of 8

insufficient information.
24. Admitted that ------- ------- gave a summary including mention of M.L.’s suicide attempts. However, the summary downplayed the suicide attempts as not having been done with intent to die but as a cry for help. In fact, ------- stated in the summary that the parents wanted to enroll M.L. not because of suicide attempts but because he ran away from home.
25. Admitted so far as consistent with the evaluation record.
26. Admitted.
27. Admitted.
28. Admitted.
29. Admitted.
30. Denied.
31. Denied.
32. Admitted only that M.L. attended a rally. The allegation is otherwise denied.
33. Admitted that he entered his bedroom. Denied that he was unsupervised.
34. Denied for insufficient information.
35. Admitted.
36.-38. These allegation confuse timing and the identities of the persons involved in the scene described. It is admitted that a staff member looked in the bathroom briefly and then sought assistance. The remainder of the allegations are denied as inaccurate.
39. Denied as to timing. The allegation is otherwise admitted. 

Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 7 Filed 04/26/16 Page 4 of 8

40. Denied.
41. Denied.
42. Admitted.
43. The responses to allegations numbered one through 42 are incorporated herein.
44. Denied.
45. Admitted so far as consistent with applicable law.
46. Admitted.
47. Denied in that plaintiffs wrongfully assume here that the mental condition of M.L. was static.
48. Denied.
49. Denied.
50. Denied.
51. Denied.
52. Denied.
53. Denied.
54. The responses to allegations numbered 1 through 53 are incorporated herein.
55. Denied.
56. Denied.
57. Denied.
58. Denied.
59. The response to allegations numbered 1 through 58 are incorporated herein. 

Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 7 Filed 04/26/16 Page 5 of 8

60. Admitted so far as consistent with applicable law.
61. Admitted so far as consistent with applicable law.
62. Denied.
63. Denied.
64. Denied.
65. Denied.
66. Denied.
67. Denied.
68. Denied.


THIRD DEFENSE
The fault of all persons whose acts or failure to act contributed to the alleged injuries of the plaintiff should be compared and allocated including any act or failure to act of the plaintiff.

FOURTH DEFENSE
Notice is hereby given pursuant to DUCivR 9-1 that defendant seeks to allocate fault to the person described in the complaint as “M.L”. The factual and legal basis upon which fault can be allocated is that M.L. was of sufficient age and, despite having mental health issues, was able to comprehend the nature of the act of suicide and elected to commit that act as a conscious choice

FIFTH DEFENSE
The plaintiff allegations of wrongdoing by the defendant, if assumed to be accurate, only present on opportunity for M.L. to act. They are not actual causes of the suicide. The actual cause of the suicide are the mental health issues of M.L. including the extraordinarily poor

Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 7 Filed 04/26/16 Page 6 of 8

relationship with his parents to whom fault should be allocated.


SIXTH DEFENSE
The suicide of M.L. was a deliberate conscious act on the part of M.L. whose mental health issues did not prevent him from appreciating the nature and seriousness of that act. Consequently, any resulting claim has been waived, barred, or estopped by the deliberate decision made by M.L.


SEVENTH DEFENSE
From the discovery of M.L. to the time he was taken down made no medical difference. Plaintiffs fail to state a claim.


EIGHTH DEFENSE
To the extent M.L. concealed suicidal ideation from therapists and staff of the defendant such concealment is another form of bar, waiver, or estoppel of the claims made.


NINTH DEFENSE
M.L. in his suicide note made statements that were consistent with his continuing expression of estrangement with his parents and constitutes a known and conscious waiver of any benefit to his parents from his passing, including the claim now asserted.


TENTH DEFENSE

Any allegation not specifically admitted is denied.


WHEREFORE, defendant asks this court to enter judgment of no cause of action upon the complaint of the plaintiffs and to award the defendant such costs and attorney’s fees incurred in defense of this action as may be appropriate in law and in fact.

Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 7 Filed 04/26/16 Page 7 of 8

DATED this 26th day of April, 2016,
KIPP AND CHRISTIAN, P.C.
/s/ Gergory J. Sanders
GREGORY J. SANDERS
SARAH C. VAUGHN
Attorneys for Defendants


Case 2:16-cv-00252-RJS-PMW Document 7 Filed 04/26/16 Page 8 of 8

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned hereby certifies that on the 26th day of April, 2016, a true and correct copy of the foregoing AMENDED ANSWER OF DEFENDANT was e-filed and sent to the following:
David R. Olsen
Timothy M. Simmons Charles T. Conrad
DEWSNUP, KING, & OLSEN
36 South State Street, Suite 2400
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111--0024
/s/ Cheryl Browning



 

2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. In this essentially unregulated, billion dollar so-called 'Therapeutic Teen Help Industry and with what we are privy to-absolutely not.

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