Illinois parents blame 'Robinhood' for son's death, file lawsuit

A suburban couple is suing "Robinhood" -- saying their son might still be alive if it were not for the company's app.

Alex Kearns died by suicide last June and his parents say it was because of what was going on with his Robinhood account -- major losses and a negative balance of almost $750,000.

"It's just been awful…they had a very close family," said family attorney Benjamin Blakeman.

20-year-old Alex Kearns, who opened his Robinhood account at age 18, got a disturbing notification in June from the app after a series of options trades.

"He received a screen notification that he actually owed $730,000 dollars," Blakeman said. "We don't know how that number was calculated and what it meant."

"He thought he blew up his life. He thought he screwed up beyond repair," Alex’s father Dan Kearns told CBS News.


Turns out, the college sophomore did not owe $730,000. His lawyer says he repeatedly emailed Robinhood for an explanation, but only got an automated response before it was too late.

"The next day, after he committed suicide, believing that he owed $730K, there was an email sent to his account saying, ‘oh you're margin calls were canceled, everything is fine,’" Blakeman said. "But he's already dead."

"I miss him more than's the kind of pain that I don't think should be humanly possible," Alex’s mother Dorothy Kearns told CBS News.

Editor's note: This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)