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Civil lawsuit filed against Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital

Jennifer Kastner

Civil lawsuit filed against Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital

CREATED Jun. 11, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A civil rights class action lawsuit has been filed against Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, and several providers and offices that work with it.

The hospital is accused of busing roughly 1,500 mentally-ill patients out of the state and essentially dumping them off with no place to go.

On Tuesday, the lawsuit was filed in the Nevada Federal Court System. Sacramento Civil Rights Attorney Mark Merin and the ACLU filed jointly, claiming the State of Nevada violated patients' constitutional rights, like inflicting cruel and unusual punishment.

Part of the lawsuit reads, "Plaintiffs were medicated before their discharge and required to leave the facility under the influence of powerful anti-psychotic/tranquilizing medication. While plaintiffs were in a drugged state, and incompetent to give informed consent, the standard procedure was for institution staff to physically escort plaintiffs from the facility and place them in taxis bound for the Greyhound Bus Station in Las Vegas."

At this time, Merin believes the biggest struggle to come, will be getting in touch with, what he said, are hundreds of patients who were abused by the State of Nevada.

"We want to get in touch with all the people who were bused illegally. There's no doubt the state is going to refuse to provide us with that information on the grounds that it's confidential patient information. So, the question is, are they operating in the patients' best interests? Or, are they operating in their own best interests, trying to thwart our attempt to reach these folks and let them know they can be part of a class action lawsuit?"

Rawson-Neal could not be reached for comment.

On Wednesday, the patient who ignited this investigation, a man who said he was "dumped" in Sacramento, will be at a press conference held at the ACLU in Las Vegas to discuss the lawsuit.