Saratoga Springs asks federal judge to enforce settlement over Darrien Hunt’s death

Posted at 12:03 PM, Oct 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-07 14:03:11-04

SALT LAKE CITY — In a federal court filing, attorneys for Saratoga Springs ask a judge to enforce a $900,000 settlement the mother of Darrien Hunt said she had rejected.

The motion, filed late last month, asks the judge to force Susan Hunt and Darrien Hunt’s family to accept the settlement. Saratoga Springs claims Hunt — through her lawyers — had agreed to the settlement and began working on press statements about it. A settlement check had even been sent over, the city said in its court filing.

“Defendants then learned that Ms. Hunt had fired her counsel, Robert Sykes, and that she does not intend to honor the settlement agreement. Despite Ms. Hunt’s change of course, the Court should enforce the settlement agreement,” Saratoga Springs attorney Heather White wrote.

Susan Hunt filed a $2 million dollar federal lawsuit against Saratoga Springs and officers Matthew Schauerhamer and Nicholas Judson who shot her son, 22-year-old Darrien Hunt, numerous times in the back. Police claim he had swung a samurai-type sword at them, but family members have denied that and said he was wearing an anime costume and was not a threat.

The Utah County Attorney ruled the shooting justified. The Hunt family has accused the officers of shooting Darrien Hunt because he is black. The U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah are investigating the shooting, something pushed for by the Salt Lake Branch of the NAACP.

On the one-year anniversary of her son’s death, Susan Hunt told a crowd at a memorial service that she rejected the settlement offer because of a gag order that would have been imposed.

“I don’t care,” she said at the time. “They don’t have to give me a dime. Clear my son’s name. Let them know that he did not do anything, that he did not commit a crime.”

In addition to asking a judge to enforce the settlement, Saratoga Springs is asking the judge to order Susan Hunt to pay their legal bills for the effort.

“Ms. Hunt defied the confidentiality provision of the settlement agreement by telling the press that she had not agreed to the settlement and that Defendants were paying ‘hush money’ and implementing a ‘gag order.’ Not only has this smeared Defendants’ in the media, it has needlessly prolonged this litigation and caused Defendants to incur additional costs,” White wrote.

A message sent to the attorney now listed in court documents as representing Susan Hunt was not immediately returned. The attorney for Darrien’s father, Curtis Hunt, filed a response in federal court stating he did not oppose Saratoga Springs’ motion as it was mostly directed at Susan Hunt and also agreed to halt requests for discovery until the settlement issue was resolved in court.

No hearings on the request have been scheduled.