Hunter Tylo Files Wrongful Death Suit

Photo: Jill Johnson/JPI

Bold and the Beautiful‘s Hunter Tylo filed a wrongful death suit Thursday against the Henderson, Nev., therapist who was counseling her 19-year-old son, Michael Tylo II, before he died in a drowning accident last October.

Tylo’s claim comes in the form of an amendment to an April 2006 malpractice lawsuit filed against therapist Shanna Downing, who was counseling multiple members of the Tylo family in 2004 and 2005. In court papers filed Jan. 24, Tylo asserted that Michael’s death “is related to Michael’s seizure disorder which the defendants failed to properly diagnose, refer for diagnosis or treat.”

In the declaration, Tylo says these past several months have been difficult. “The recent and sudden death of my son has caused me even much more grief, anxiety, sadness and emotional and financial distress than I ever imagined I would face when filing my initial complaint. I have not been able to properly and fully work and function in life.”

According to court papers filed by Downing, she counseled Michael II because he was having “conflicts” with his parents, who were going through a divorce.

“She was anti-medicine and pro-acupuncture,” Patricia Vaccarino, Tylo’s attorney, told PEOPLE. “Downing did not believe in medication. If things had been done differently then [Michael II] may not have died.”

“Ms. Downing specifically advised Michael and his mother that Michael’s seizure were due to the stress he was experiencing due to his parents’ break-up,” the papers say. “Ms. Downing told Michael and Hunter that once the stress was eliminated in Michael’s life, the seizures would disappear.”

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Michael Shannon, Downing’s attorney, told PEOPLE in December, “I can’t see how there would be a connection between counseling that ended almost two years ago and (Michael II’s) accidental death in October.”

Attorneys for Downing and Horizon declined to comment further because of the pending litigation. Meanwhile, on the same day, Downing asked the court to dismiss Michael Tylo II as a party in the lawsuit, arguing that his death was accidental and that Tylo missed the deadline to substitute her son’s estate as a plaintiff in the legal action against Downing. A hearing has been set for Feb. 26 on this matter. A trial is scheduled for October.

In the suit, Tylo has also named Horizon Family Therapy & Wellness, Inc., the office where Downing rented space. Tylo also has lodged a complaint with the Nevada Board of Examiners for Social Workers, Vaccarino says.

Downing, a clinical social worker, has been licensed in Nevada since 2003 and remains in good standing, says the rep.

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