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Philanthropist's death sparks unusual lawsuit



The UCLA campus in Westwood, CA
The UCLA campus in Westwood, CA
Photo by Chris Radcliff via Flickr Creative Commons

When former model and philanthropist Phyllis Harvey died last year at 59, little note was taken. There was no mention of how she died - nothing about her struggle with alcoholism and mental illness. And there was no reference to one of the final projects she helped fund with nearly a half million dollars.

Those details now figure prominently in a medical board complaint and wrongful death lawsuit claiming her psychiatrist coaxed $490,000 in research funding from her while she was under powerful doses of psychotropic drugs that eventually killed her.

The suit filed on behalf of Brian Harvey accuses a University of California, Los Angeles psychiatrist of causing his wife's death with dangerous drugs while soliciting research funds from her.

UCLA has said it will contest the lawsuit.