Widow alleges husband’s death related to knee pressure to neck
Attorneys for Los Angeles County have agreed not to argue that a woman waited too long to file a claim on behalf of herself and her two minor children stemming from the death of her husband during a confrontation with sheriff’s deputies, in which one deputy allegedly applied pressure to the back of the man’s neck with a knee.
Tiffany Hayes, who was married to the late Richard Hayes, had brought a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court on March 11 on behalf of herself and her 15-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son, asking to be excused from the normal time limit for filing a legal claim. She filed her claim for wrongful death, civil rights violations, battery, negligence, failure to summon medical assistance and negligent infliction of emotional distress on Nov. 22, seeking $10 million.
Hayes’ court papers said she was abiding by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order extending the normal six-month deadline for filing claims another 120 days because of the coronavirus, but on Feb. 8, the county rejected the claim as being brought too late, the petition stated.
However, the two sides filed joint court papers on April 29 stating that Hayes was withdrawing her petition after attorneys for the county stated they were no longer contending she waited too long to file a claim, which is often a forerunner of a lawsuit.
Richard Hayes died on March 21, 2021, but his widow maintained that under Newsom’s order, the deadline for filing was Jan. 19 of this year rather than last Sept. 21, six months after the death.
According to the claim, Richard Hayes suffered a “mental health episode” about 7:30 p.m. on Lycoming Street in Diamond Bar, so his wife called 911. Deputies arrived before paramedics and fired a stun gun on him several times until he fell on his stomach, according to the claim.
“Deputies then piled on top of Mr. Hayes to restrain him, with one deputy forcing her knee into the back of Mr. Hayes’s neck,” the claim states.
Richard Hayes, who was not a threat to the deputies, became unresponsive after several minutes and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the claim.
The deputies “failed to timely summon medical attention or provide medical aid to Mr. Hayes, thereby further contributing to his injuries and death,” the claim states.
Tiffany Hayes and her daughter witnessed the incident and suffered severe emotional distress, the claim states.