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Saratoga Springs wants Darrien Hunt’s mother sanctioned, settlement enforced

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Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-26 20:08:22-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has set a December hearing to decide if the mother of Darrien Hunt should be forced to accept a $900,000 settlement for her son’s death.

In its latest court filing, the city of Saratoga Springs seeks to enforce the settlement it says Susan Hunt agreed to under her prior lawyer.

“Ms. Hunt and the Estate (of Darrien Hunt) do not dispute the evidence presented by Defendants, they simply ignore it. They do not distinguish the law submitted by Defendants, they disregard it. Their opposition memo is a high-volume, zero-substance affront to both the evidence and the law,” Saratoga Springs attorney Heather White wrote in response to Hunt’s court filing.

“In it, they make three arguments against enforcing the settlement agreement: (1) their lawyer did not have authority to settle, (2) they did not settle, and (3) there can be no settlement because they did not sign the release. However, Mr. Sykes, as counsel of record through August 28th, had authority to settle. Mr. Sykes, as agent for Ms. Hunt and the Estate, did settle. And the fact that Ms. Hunt subsequently had reservations, refused to sign the release, and fired Mr. Sykes cannot undo the settlement.”

Saratoga Springs insists Hunt agreed to the settlement. However, she and her new attorneys contend she did not, saying she had fired her prior attorney, Robert Sykes. Beyond the settlement, the city also seeks to sanction Susan Hunt for “breaching the confidentiality of the settlement agreement and needlessly prolonging the litigation.”

Susan Hunt filed a $2 million lawsuit against Saratoga Springs over the shooting death of her son, Darrien, accusing the officers of unlawful and excessive force. He was shot numerous times in the back as he fled from police during a confrontation last year. Police said he was wielding a 3-foot sword, something his family has said was part of a costume.

The judge handling the case has put other parts of the lawsuit on hold until arguments are made over the settlement dispute.