The widow of an Aurora, Colorado shooting victim is suing the suspect’s psychiatrist, claiming that she failed to use “reasonable care” when treating James Holmes.
The widow, Chantel Blunk, decided to take legal action against the University of Colorado, Dr. Lynne Fenton, and five other defendants whose names did not appear in the suit, which was filed on Monday in Denver’s US District Court.
United Press International reports that Blunk’s husband, Jonathan Blunk, was one of 12 people killed on July 20 when James Holmes allegedly opened fire on a movie theater audience during the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises.
Seventy people were also wounded during the attack, which took place shortly after the movie’s midnight premiere began. In the lawsuit, Blunk’s widow claims that Holmes told Fenton, the director of student mental health services at the university’s Anschutz Medical Campus, that he “fantasized about killing a lot of people.”
The suit adds that Fenton took no action after she reported the statements to the school’s Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment team. It also claims that Fenton “rejected the idea” of placing Holmes on a psychiatric hold. The lawsuit adds:
“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 lawsuit is the first of an expected cascade of litigation against Dr. Fenton, according to The Denver Post. The university reports receiving notice of 11 more lawsuits that may be filed against the psychiatrist. Jacque Montcomery, UC-Denver spokeswoman, stated in an email that the school has “nothing but sympathy for the victims, but in the initial review of this case the university believes the lawsuit is not well-founded legally or factually.”
The lawsuit is three separate claims, saying that Blunk and her children, Maximus and Hailey Blunk, have suffered loss of companionship, emotional and psychological distress, as well as economic damages over $75,000 because of Fenton.