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$1.5 Million Settlement for Failure to Treat Suicidal Patient

Attorneys Mark W. Tanner and James P. Faunes represented the family of a Pittsburgh-area man in an extremely challenging medical negligence case flowing from the failures of psychiatric healthcare providers to adequately treat and care for him prior to his suicide. Although the decedent had treated with the providers on only five occasions, Tanner and Faunes argued that there were glaring warning signs of this impending tragedy that were not acted upon by the providers. Nevertheless, Attorneys Tanner and Faunes developed a theory of the case that focused on the inadequacy of communication and record-keeping among his various psychiatric and psychological treaters.

The decedent, who exhibited many of the risk factors associated with suicide, stated on multiple occasions that he had suicidal thoughts. These complaints were met with skepticism by his treaters or explained away in deposition by reference to conversations that were not recorded or noted, but allegedly remembered years later. Ultimately, the decedent took his own life, leaving behind his wife and two minor children. It is believed that there has never been a plaintiff’s verdict in Allegheny County for a claim related to non-custodial suicide, and the $1.5 million settlement is a testament to the creative and aggressive litigation strategies pursued by the lawyers at Feldman Shepherd.