Wrongful death lawsuit filed against local group home

Published 12/18 2013 06:26PM

Updated 12/18 2013 08:09PM

BAKERSFIELD, CA - A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against a local group home and Kern Regional Center following the death of a developmentally disabled man this summer.

The suit claims staffers used unreasonable and excessive force to restrain him.

The Kern County coroner ruled the death a homicide, saying Joseph Adam Lynch died from positional asphyxiation.

The family's attorney says staff at Mountain View Ranch Residential Care weren't trained properly, leaving Lynch on the floor unresponsive for twelve minutes.

The family of Lynch describes the 26-year-old as a kind, caring person who loved sports. 

His family says he suffered from Fragile X Syndrome, a form of autism that can cause aggressive behavior.

"The home and the employees didn't have people with the appropriate training to deal with Adam. This is a young man with unique needs," said attorney Matthew Clark.

Deputies were called to the group home July 9th after staff said Lynch was vandalizing the residence and had assaulted a staff member.

"What we understand at this point is that he was restrained by three employees of the Mountain View residential home in a face down supine position," said Clark.

The lawsuit claims Lynch died from unreasonable and excessive force used by employees in restraining him. 

Some of the claims include adult abuse and negligence.

"No one from the group home checked for a pulse, checked to see if he was breathing or performed CPR. It wasn't until the Kern County Sheriff's Department arrived on scene that any of that was done," continued Clark.

The family says it hopes this lawsuit will force residential care facilities and regional centers to re-evaluate how they provide care for the developmentally disabled.

Attorneys for the Lynch family say the case will go to trial in about a year.

Our calls to the group home were not returned.

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