Settlement Reached in Woman's Suicide Fall From Children's Courthouse

Court Settlement

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ALHAMBRA (CNS) - The father of a woman who jumped to her death from a bridge at the Edelman Children's Court in Monterey Park in 2018 after losing parental custody of her young sons has reached a settlement in his lawsuit against Los Angeles County, attorneys in the case told a judge today.

The settlement was announced -- but no terms were revealed -- during a status conference before Alhambra Superior Court Judge Colin P. Leis, who vacated all upcoming hearings in the case brought in June 2019 by Chien-Tung Wu, the father of the late Shin Wu. The elder Wu alleged that county officials were aware that his daughter's mental health was declining and didn't get her the proper care.

Shin Wu's two minor sons -- identified only as J.H and A.H. -- were also named as plaintiffs and their father, Jorge Hernandez, acted as their guardian during the court proceedings.

In their court papers, defense attorneys said the county ``had no affirmative duty to prevent (Shin) Wu from taking her own life'' and that therefore her suicide was unforeseeable. In addition, county officials made no promises of providing mental health care treatment to Shin Wu and no one at the county level suspected she was pondering killing herself, the suit states.

``Indeed, her own family had no knowledge of any suicidal ideations,'' the county's attorneys stated in their court papers.

The woman took her own life Aug. 24, 2018, shortly after a hearing in which she was unable to regain parental custody of her boys, according to the suit, which sought unspecified damages.

``As a result of the loss of parental rights to her minor children, (Shin Wu) was overcome with emotions and suicidal ideations that she was unable to control and (she) jumped to her death from the bridge located at the Edelman Children's Court,'' the complaint stated.

The Department of Children and Family Services had taken the mother's children away from her a month earlier, according to the suit, which also alleged that county officials had been on notice since June 2018 that a social worker assessed that Shin Wu had mental health issues, including bipolar disorder and severe depression.

In the first week of August 2018, social workers called law enforcement about Shin Wu's mental state and she was detained and hospitalized for a week, the suit says.

``Due to the lack of necessary mental health care that was required for (Wu), the decedent was alone and without help or support during the court procedures of family reunification,'' the suit alleges. ``Decedent was placed in a position that dramatically increased her suicidal ideations, causing her to jump to her death, because of the negligent acts of the defendants, causing the minor (children) to lose their mother.''

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