Widow of Aurora Victim Sues Holmes' Psychiatrist
He should have been in custody, says lawsuit
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2013 5:26 PM CST
In this July 23 file photo, James Holmes appears in Arapahoe County District Court with defense attorney Tamara Brady in Centennial, Colo.   (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool, File)

(Newser) – The widow of one of the people killed in the Aurora, Colorado, rampage has sued the psychiatrist of alleged shooter James Holmes, reports the Denver Post. The lawsuit argues that the University of Colorado's Lynne Fenton should have had Holmes placed in temporary custody after he spoke of his fantasies about killing a large number of people. Fenton reportedly told campus police of her worries, along with the school's campus threat team, but widow Chantel Blunk says she should have done more.

"Fenton was presented with the opportunity to use .... reasonable care when the Colorado University police offered to apprehend James Holmes on a psychiatric hold," the suit says, adding that Fenton "rejected the idea." The university has hired a legal team to defend Fenton, with a spokesperson saying "the lawsuit is not well-founded legally or factually."

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Showing 3 of 44 comments
KooKooforCocoPuffs
Jan 16, 2013 10:28 AM CST
Coulda Shoulda Woulda doesn't make any difference. The kid was determined to kill and he was going to get it done guns or no guns, psychiatrist or no psychiatrist. Ruining more lives over this situation furthers nothing. The widow has likely been convinced—by a lawyer looking for a big 33 percent payday and a ton of media attention and notoriety—that this is a "pertinent" course of action that will "save future lives." Bullshit, it's about money.
piankeshaw
Jan 16, 2013 8:12 AM CST
I'm going to disagree with the majority. In the mental health profession there is a Duty To Warm provision referred to as Tarasoff because of the famous court case of the same name. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are bound by confidentiality unless a patient is a danger to himself or others. If a patient is a danger to others the psychiatrist is duty bound to warn others and take appropriate actions. An earlier report stated that Holmes was dangerous and the psychiatrist did not act in a timely manner. So, the suit has some merit.
Marelicia
Jan 16, 2013 1:29 AM CST
"Fenton was presented with the opportunity to use .... reasonable care when the Colorado University police offered to apprehend James Holmes on a psychiatric hold," the suit says, adding that Fenton "rejected the idea." Of course, Dr. Fenton would reject the idea. Fenton's life would be endangered. She would have had to file an Affidavit along with other paperwork in Court and with the Police Department, and Holmes would have known that Fenton was the one who had him arrested on a psychiatric hold. Which I believe is for no more than 48 hours. Within 48 hours Holmes would have been released, UNLESS the evaluating psychiatrist Petitioned the surrogate's Court or probate Court to have Holmes committed to a mental health facility, after a court hearing with Dr. Fenton called as a witness. Dr. Fenton was scared and did not want to take that chance. What would stop Holmes from coming after her whenever he was released ???!!! Very sad. I am so sorry for the victims and their families and Dr. Fenton.