Father sues Q&A Associates for son’s suicide

By Kyla Asbury | Jun 14, 2016

ELKINS – A Louisiana father is suing Q&A Associates after they claim it is responsible for their son’s suicide. Angela Shockley, Keith Bishop, Matthew Shockley, Sandy Schmiedeknecht and Tammy Robbins were also named as defendants in the suit.

ELKINS – A Louisiana father is suing Q&A Associates after they claim it is responsible for their son’s suicide.

Angela Shockley, Keith Bishop, Matthew Shockley, Sandy Schmiedeknecht and Tammy Robbins were also named as defendants in the suit.

Evan M. Harris was participating in a program called “The Journey WV” that was offered by Q&A and was required to undergo a complete psychological evaluation, which revealed a myriad of emotional and psychological needs that needed to be met for his success in the program, according to a complaint filed June 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

Fredrichs Harris claims their son was never engaged in any academic, vocational or training program of any kind during his participation in the program and, instead of training, he was made to wash dishes at The Deerfield Inn and also at The Nook.

Evan Harris’ parents questioned their son working and the defendants told them that he had to have a job and that was what was available, according to the suit.

Fredrichs Harris claims instead of meeting his son’s psychological needs, they watched him deteriorate physically and emotionally, while assuring his parents that he was “doing great.”

On Dec. 3, Evan Harris packed up his belongings and left the facility, only to be found and quickly returned to the facility and this was not immediately reported to his parents, according to the suit.

On Dec. 24, Keith Bishop received reports that Evan Harris was cutting his arm and was expressing suicidal ideations over a breakup with a female participant, which was not reported to Evan Harris’ parents.

Fredrichs Harris claims on Jan. 2, staff members were told that Evan Harris was regularly purging, which was also not reported to the parents.

On Jan. 12, Evan Harris borrowed money from Schmiedeknecht to buy cigarettes and left the store, walked to the bank, where he withdrew money and used it to purchase a bottle of Jack Daniels, which was not reported to Evan Harris’ parents until two days later, according to the suit.

Fredrichs Harris claims on Jan. 14, Angela Shockley was supposedly going to the farm to speak with Evan Harris, but they were unable to locate him and had to conduct a search and when he was found, Angela Shockley wrongfully told Evan Harris he was not able to return to Waterfall Canyon, an independent living program where he had previously experienced some success and where he wanted to return.

“By making this statement, Angela Shockley took away any hope that Evan M. Harris had for a better life and a return to Waterfall Canyon,” the complaint states. “According to Angela Shockley’s own notes, Evan M. Harris told her that his only option was to be homeless on the camps road.”

Fredrichs Harris claims on Jan. 15, Evan Harris again left the facility and was found by Shockley walking along Cortland Road. On Jan. 23, Evan Harris expressed a strong desire to drink alcohol and was provided counseling by Mark Shockley about addiction and he offered to take him to AA meetings.

On Jan. 24, Evan Harris was found dead in the barn and the state medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.

Evan Harris’ pleas for help for weeks and days leading up to his suicide went ignored and unreported to his parents, according to the suit.

Fredrichs Harris claims the defendants negligent and caused his son’s suicide.

Fredrichs Harris is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by David A. Sims of the Law Offices of David A. Sims PLLC.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge John Preston Bailey.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 2:16-cv-00046

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