Jury: State of Iowa caused death of ISU student Dane Schussler

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A jury in Linn County found the state of Iowa is partially responsible for the suicide of Iowa State University student Dane Schussler.

Schussler visited the University's counseling center but died by suicide a few weeks later in November 2015. The jury announced the verdict Wednesday, saying Schussler and the state split liability for his death.

The verdict awards Schussler's parents $315,000 -- half of the $630,000 set by the jury.

Schussler's parents filed the claim shortly after their son's death. The lawsuit claimed Dane went to the counseling center less than two months earlier complaining of suicidal thoughts.

This was his first issue with mental health, but the family claimed the center did not respond adequately. The lawsuit also claimed ISU knew the counseling center was underfunded and understaffed.

The lawsuit said the state of Iowa is liable for Schussler's suicide for failing to provide Dane with sufficiently trained and
supervised counselors for his mental health needs, for "failing to properly evaluate the mental health of Dane Michael Schussler and for failing to intervene to prevent his suicide, including utilizing family members to assist in his recovery and in failing to refer him to a more appropriate source for his mental health needs."

The state argued it can't be held liable for someone harming themselves and that Schussler's suicide was mostly a result of his own actions.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please reach out to the Suicide Prevention Lifelife at 1-800-273-8255 or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.