Woman sues city of Sandy after suicidal death of husband
The city of Sandy and the Sandy Police Department are facing a $1 million lawsuit, stemming from an accusation that Sandy Police failed to take action involving a man experiencing a mental health crisis.
Sandy resident Kathleen Dunlap filed a tort claim against the city on Wednesday, Nov. 1, arguing that the suicidal death of her husband, James Ross Dunlap Jr., on Jan. 11, 2016, could have been prevented had the police intervened.
James Dunlap is said to have suffered from bipolar disorder and on multiple occasions was the subject of domestic disturbance calls from Kathleen Dunlap to the Sandy Police Department.
These calls, according to the claim filed by Dunlap's representation, the Law Offices of Daniel Snyder, began in November 2015. On multiple occasions, Kathleen Dunlap called police to report her husband was in the midst of a "manic" episode and she feared for her and her live-in father's safety.
On one such occurance, James Dunlap was reported to be in possession of firearm. On all occasions, Kathleen Dunlap requested mental-health intervention or the arrest of her husband.
The claim says police responded by saying the Sandy Police Department has a policy against intervening when it encounters a person undergoing a mental-health crisis. The claim further states that police declined to arrest James Dunlap or to put him on a mental-health hold.
In her claim, Kathleen Dunlap alleges the police were "negligent" and in noncompliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
"Defendant (the city of Sandy) has damaged both Mrs. Dunlap and Plaintiff Estate by failing to arrest Mr. Dunlap in response to Mrs. Dunlap's report of domestic violence," the claim states. "Had they done so, Mr. Dunlap would have likely received mental health referrals and assistance and the tragic loss of (Mrs. Dunlap's) husband could have been avoided."
Kathleen Dunlap is asking that the city be prohibited from "continued discrimination against people with disabilities" and be mandated to fully comply with Title II of the ADA, for compensation for emotional damages and lost income from James Dunlap's death, costs incurred during trial and a "declaration that the (city of Sandy) violated Title III of the ADA."
Her representation has asked for a trial by jury, which has yet to be scheduled.
Sandy Mayor Bill King and City Manager Kim Yamashita were unavailable for comment before publication of this story. The city's attorney, David Doughman of Beery Elsner & Hammond LLP, said "I have no comment on the substance" of the claim, but he explained that the claim would be forwarded to CityCounty Insurance Services (CIS), with whom the city of Sandy is insured.
The city has coverage for tort claims, such as this, and will be request defense from CIS.
The Post will update this story as more information is released.