The family of Luke Z. Tang, a 18-year-old Harvard student who committed suicide, is now suing Harvard University and its employees for negligence and carelessness in failing to follow suicide prevention protocols.
On September 11, just a day before the third year anniversary of his son’s death, Wendell W. Tang filed a lawsuit in the Middlesex County Superior Court. He named the Harvard Corporation, residential dean Catherine R. Shapiro, Lowell House Resident Dean Caitlin Casey, Harvard University Health Services mental health counselor Melanie G. Northrop, and HUHS psychiatrist David W. Abramson as defendants, according to the complaint The Harvard Crimson reported.
“As a direct and proximate result of Harvard’s negligence and carelessness, the Plaintiff’s decedent was caused severe conscious physical and mental pain and suffering and further, the Plaintiff’s decedent was caused to commit suicide,” the complaint reads.
The complaint argues that the defendants are responsible for his death and damages that amounts to at least $20 million.
The document alleges that after his first suicide attempt in April 2015, Tang entered into a contract created by Shapiro, Northrop, and Abramson detailing that he must receive mental health counseling in order to remain on campus. He was not allowed to change or negotiate the terms in the contract.
However, documents revealed that Tang did not receive any menta l health counseling between May 2015 and his death in September.
While Harvard’s lawyers have yet to reply to any comment from the media, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana wrote in an email that his “thoughts and prayers continue to be with everyone who knew and loved Luke,” adding that “losing a child is among the most painful things that can happen to a family.”
The court has issued Jan. 9, 2019 as the deadline for Harvard’s response, according to the report.
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