A federal judge has declined to decide the legal dispute between Susan Hunt and her attorney, who are at odds over the attorney's claim to part of the settlement of a lawsuit that Hunt filed over the police shooting death of her son Darrien Hunt.
U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell said in a decision released Wednesday that the question of how much if any of the $900,000 settlement should go to attorney Robert Sykes is best left up to state courts.
Also Wednesday, Campbell officially closed the case.
Campbell recently ruled that Susan Hunt had to accept the settlement with the city of Saratoga Springs after she had told Sykes she would. Instead, she fired him and tried to back out. Hunt hired new attorneys who claimed Sykes had committed malpractice and other professional infractions while he represented Hunt; they disputed his claim to part of the settlement.
"The federal question here is essentially resolved," Campbell wrote in her decision. "All that is left are matters that turn exclusively on state law and, in the process, wade into waters completely regulated by the state."
Darrien Hunt, 22, was pursued by Saratoga Springs officers who shot and killed him in September 2014 after a 911 call to police reported a man carrying a sword in the city. Parents Susan and Curtis Hunt filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city that resulted in the settlement.
Campbell noted that the two parents, who are separated, also are disputing the amount each should get from the settlement.