It has been more than five years since the death of Larry Pulliam.
Family members contend Larry Pulliam died in 2016 because of the actions of the Tallapoosa County Department of Human Resources and the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department when he was committed to a long-term care facility in 2013. Once again through Opelika Zach Alsobrook, the Pulliams are seeking remedy from the courts asking the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court to reconsider a wrongful death lawsuit a second time through a Rule 60 motion filed Sept. 22. This is despite no action on the same Rule 60 motion filed by the Pulliams in February. The underlying case was dismissed in 2018 and has been through the appeals process.
Gregory A. Pulliam, Melvin D. Ross, Sandra Taylor, James K. Pulliam and Larry Pulliam filed a complaint in 2018 on behalf of the estate of the late Larry M. Pulliam, alleging Pulliam was not properly evaluated before being committed and the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department allowed an off-duty deputy to transport the man to a home without proper paperwork.
Language in the wrongful death suit claimed Pulliam’s Fifth and 14th Amendment Rights were violated. Pulliam was “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law,” and he was denied “due process,” according to the 2018 complaint filed through the Pulliams’ then attorney Ted Pearson of Birmingham.
“My clients maintain that their father was committed without proper evaluation, without proper procedures being followed, transported illegally without authorization and kept against his will in facilities over a period of time that eventually led to an early death,” Pearson said in 2018. “Despite extensive research and requests by both the family members and myself to DHR and the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office, we can find, nor have been provided, no evidence that even after this time that the required paper work ever existed.”
The suit alleged Alabama Code 22-52-91(a) and 22-52-7(b) were violated. Those laws state: “If a community mental health officer determines from the conditions, symptoms, and behavior that the person appears to be mentally ill and poses an immediate danger to self or others, a law enforcement officer shall take the person into custody and, together with the community mental health officer, deliver the person directly to the designated mental health facility.” The complaint alleges those conditions were not met in Pulliam’s case.