Court ends case over escaped Shands Vista patient's death

By Jim Saunders The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE - After an unusual series of events, the Florida Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit stemming from the death of a patient who was killed on Interstate 75 after escaping from an Alachua County psychiatric hospital.

The decision came after a majority of the court twice refused to dismiss the lawsuit - even though a settlement had been reached and both parties wanted the case dropped.

As is common, the court did not explain its reasons Wednesday for going ahead with the dismissal. But the move came after the estate of the patient, Ashley Lawson, filed a document last week that said it would not submit an additional brief about the issues in the case and that the parties "are contractually prohibited from further litigation in this matter."