Mom Settles Suit Over Son's Restraint Death
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 27, 2004
LINCOLN, NEBRASKA--The program that served 13-year-old Darvell Gulley has settled a lawsuit with the boy's mother over his restraint-related death, the Lincoln Journal Star reported Friday.
Gulley, who had developmental disabilities, died on April 27, 2002 from what an autopsy report described as "compression asphyxia" -- suffocation caused by squeezing or pressure on the chest.
Police said Gulley "got out of control" and had to be restrained by staff members at his home operated by the private, non-profit Developmental Services of Nebraska. At some point during the restraint, the staff discovered that the boy had stopped breathing.
Attempts to revive him were not successful.
A grand jury later found no wrongdoing on the part of DSN or its staff.
Darvell's mother, Vivian Gulley, filed the civil lawsuit in August 2002 against the agency and employees Jake Murray and Truphosa Otianga. She claimed in her suit that DSN failed to provide its employees with adequate training on proper restraint procedures. She said the employees put too much pressure on Darvell's chest and neck while the restrained him, and failed to recognize that he could not breathe.
The suit was dismissed earlier this month, after both sides agreed to settle the case out of court. Both sides agreed not to disclose any details of the settlement.