Man blames Prestera for son's death

by Kyla Asbury |
Jan. 13, 2015, 10:24am

WAYNE – A man is suing Prestera Center for Mental Health and one of its employees, claiming they are responsible for the death of his son.

On Aug. 28, 2012, Charles E. Sammons obtained a mental hygiene order on his son, Charles E. Sammons II, as he believed his son was at serious risk to harm himself and others, according to a complaint filed Oct. 7 in Wayne Circuit Court.

Charles Sammons claims his son was taken into custody by Officer Baumgartner and detained for a mental health examination and transferred to Prestera to receive the examination.

Keith N. King examined  Charles Sammons II and breached his duty by failing to perform an adequate and acceptable mental health examination, according to the suit.

Charles Sammons claims had a proper examination been performed, Charles Sammons II's prior mental health history, substance abuse history, diagnoses, prior suicide attempt and hospitalizations would have been noted, which would have been clear indicators of additional significant factors for suicide.

"Additionally ... Charles E. Sammons, who was present at Prestera when the exam was conducted, expressed serious concern over his son's state and that he felt his son was at risk for harming himself or others," the complaint states. "Records indicated that ... King also received similar relevant information from Officer Baumgartner."

There is no evidence that King took any notes during the examination or interviews or that any psychological testing was performed, according to the suit.

Charles Sammons claims there is no suicide protocol or responses to standard inquiries regarding known suicide factors and there is no indication that prior Prestera records or Charles Sammons II's records of his prior reported suicide attempt were reviewed or even requested.

As a result of King's failure, Charles Sammons II was released that evening without receiving any further observation, assessment or mental health treatment, according to the suit. Charles Sammons II committed suicide on Aug. 29, 2012.

Charles Sammons claims Prestera is vicariously liable for the negligent actions or inactions of King.

As a direct and proximate result of the defendants' negligent acts and/or omissions, Charles Sammons suffered pain and suffering; sorrow, mental anguish and solace; compensation for reasonably expected loss of income and earning capacity of Charles Sammons II; reasonable funeral expenses; and other expenses incurred by his son's wrongful death, according to the suit.

Charles Sammons is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest.

He is being represented by Timothy C. Bailey and J. Ryan Steward of Bucci Bailey & Javins LC; and Arik C. Paraschos of Sammons, Olivero & Paraschos.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge James H. Young Jr.

Wayne Circuit Court case number: 14-C-205

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