The downfall of brilliant lawyer, 44, who walked out on his career and family after being engulfed by mental illness, is heartbreaking

Tom's Guide

The relatives of a brilliant lawyer who walked out on his family and career amid a mental health spiral during Covid have spoken of their devastation after he ended up living on the streets of LA.
Two years ago Rob Dart, 44, was an award-winning attorney and doting father living in a $2 million South Pasadena home.
He had overcome a previous mental health crisis a decade earlier, following the end of his marriage which saw him plagued by voices in his head.
Dart quit therapy and his medications and soon lost touch with his family, as well as his job.
‘I got on a plane,’ his mom Sherry Dart told the Wall Street Journal.
Dart was one of the millions of Americans whose mental health issues were exacerbated by the pandemic through interruptions to treatment, routine or for other reasons.
A panicked Sherry immediately called police who sent over mental health specialists who were able to coax him into treatment.
Over the next months Dart’s family desperately tried to reach him, invariably with little success.


The family of an intelligent attorney who abandoned his work and family due to a mental health breakdown during COVID-19 has revealed how devastated they were when he ended up living on the streets of Los Angeles.

Two years prior, Rob Dart, 44, was a $2 million South Pasadena home owner, an award-winning lawyer, and a devoted father.

Ten years earlier, after his marriage ended and he was suffering from voices in his head, he had overcome another mental health crisis.

Back then, Dart still had the resources to seek out his family, and he recovered in his bedroom at home before moving out and starting over as an accomplished lawyer.

However, with the start of the pandemic in 2022, his life started to fall apart once more, forcing him to work long hours from home.

Soon after quitting his meds and therapy, Dart drifted apart from his family and his work.

His phone was disconnected shortly after, his car was seized, and he failed to pay his rent.

The Wall Street Journal was informed by his mother Sherry Dart, “I got on a plane.”. “I assumed I would discover a corpse.”. “.

She was enraged and nearly unrecognizable when she eventually caught up with her son.

For a brief moment, Dart let his mother greet her grandson before he took him away. During the following few days, he continued to ignore his mother’s numerous phone calls.

Weeks after he had been evicted, Jennifer, Dart’s sister, encountered a similar situation when she attempted to see him in July.

After searching the neighborhood extensively, Jennifer eventually discovered her brother, who was previously well-groomed, at a Starbucks with matted hair and a complete mess.

“His eyes were the only thing I could recognize,” she said, expressing a similar level of hostility.

Dart was among the millions of Americans whose mental health problems were made worse by the pandemic, either because of routine disruptions in treatment or for other reasons.

According to a scientific brief published by the World Health Organization (WHO), there was a staggering 25% increase in the worldwide prevalence of anxiety and depression in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dart’s family hoped that the safety net he so desperately needed would come from California, with its stricter laws regarding the detention of people with serious psychotic disorders.

In 2022, the CARE Court laws gave judges the authority to order the commitment of mentally ill individuals into facilities upon a family member’s petition to the courts.

If a patient doesn’t consent, loved ones in the majority of states have limited ability to obtain treatment on their behalf.

Dart was frequently able to argue his way out of being committed, though, thanks to his legal background and occasional flashes of clarity.

One of these instances happened in December 2022 when his mother received a call from neighbors reporting that he had lost control and was convinced to check himself into a hospital.

Sherry, in a panic, called the police right away, and they sent mental health experts, who were able to talk him into getting treatment.

When she arrived in California the following day, Sherry was horrified by what she discovered within her son’s apartment.

She smelled something foul as soon as she opened the door, and she saw insane drawings in notebooks detailing how Dart had heard Satan’s voice.

Among his hysterical outbursts was the claim that he was John Lennon, “St. “The invisible Obama,” as Nicholas Cage was known, and that he was being targeted for theft.

On December 28, Dart appeared in an erratic state on his ex-wife’s porch after checking himself out of the hospital.

Dart filed motions in court accusing her of violating the custody arrangement after she refused to let him see his son due to her fear of his precarious condition.

After hearing his well-reasoned case, the judge granted a hearing. However, the courts issued a protective order for her after learning of the full extent of his breakdown.

Dart’s family made several unsuccessful attempts to contact him over the ensuing months.

In September of 2023, after he was shot in the leg on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, things became even more terrifying.

Dart was hit by an errant bullet while he was trying to “meditate” on the stretch.

He was eventually conned into going to the hospital by a friend after having originally refused treatment there.

A psychiatrist tried to get him committed after they arrived. But Rob was able to argue his way out again thanks to his legal background and epiphanies.

Travels to and from the local hospitals occupied the next few weeks, but they were never prolonged.

Through Airbnbs, hotel rooms, and the occasional DoorDash meal, his family persisted in trying to help him. Sherry has devoted all of her life savings to attempting to protect her son.

Dart put up a Facebook post on December 27 saying he was trying to find somewhere to sleep.

I’m searching for a place to crash in Los Angeles, guys. Because I’m homeless, that is. Please DM me if you have any extra space in your apartment or elsewhere. Thank you,’ he uttered.

At this juncture, Dart had joined the 46,000 individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.

Three months later, when he delivered a request that they leave him alone, his family received his next message.

Dart, for his part, insists that stopping his medicine has made his life better and that he is not ill.

Dart said to the Wall Street Journal, “I did want to get out of the hospital, and I did not want to take the medication.”.

It reduced my confidence, assertiveness, and fear. You know you’re pretty much the same person, so who wants to feel like that? Dart remarked. You simply have greater self-awareness. “.”.

But for his family, who only have the recollection of him, it feels like it’s too late already.

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