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Judge Hears Arguments in Darrien Hunt Settlement Case

Whittney Evans
Pallbearers carry Darrien Hunt's casket after his funeral.

U.S. District Court Judge Tena Campbell heard arguments today concerning whether Darrien Hunt’s mother Susan Hunt agreed to a settlement with the city of Saratoga Springs. Police there shot and killed her 22-year-old son in 2014.

Attorneys for the city say Susan Hunt did give her then attorney Robert Sykes permission to accept a $900,000 settlement that included a non-disparagement clause. Hunt fired Sykes and told members of the media she did not accept the offer, characterizing it as “hush money”.  The Saratoga Springs legal team is asking Judge Campbell to enforce the settlement agreement.

Heather White represents the city.

“All of the evidence in the record establishes that [Mr. Sykes] had lengthy discussions with Ms. Hunt about what the non-disparagement would include and what the settlement would entail,” White says. “And that she agreed to those terms and simply had second thoughts after the settlement was reached.”

Hunt’s attorney Michael Wright argues Mr. Sykes did not have the explicit authority to settle on behalf of his client. 

“Susan will not be muted,” Wright says. “She thinks this was a situation that should not have occurred. And she wants the ability to tell folks what happened, her version of the story. And she will not let any monetary amount dictate her ability to talk about what happened to her son.”

Judge Campbell says she’s taking more time to review the evidence before ruling on the case. She says that will take about three weeks.

Darrien Hunt was carrying a samurai sword outside a Saratoga Springs shopping center in September 2014, when he was shot and killed by police officers who say Hunt lunged at them with the sword. Utah County prosecutors ruled the shooting was justified.

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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