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Patient dumping suit against Rawson-Neal dismissed

A federal judge has declined to reconsider a lawsuit alleging that officials at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas violated a patient’s civil rights by giving him a bus ticket to California upon discharge.

U.S. District Judge James Mahan issued the order Friday, saying he was correct to dismiss the claims filed in June 2013 on behalf of James Brown and those similarly situated. State health officials said they were pleased with the order.

The lawsuit sought damages for Brown and asked the judge to issue an order to stop Nevada from sending psychiatric patients out of state.

In his recent order, Mahan gave Brown 14 days to file a motion to amend his complaint, if he chooses to do so.

Brown’s lawyer, Allen Lichtenstein of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said he plans to appeal.

He said he disagrees that patients showing symptoms of serious mental illness can give informed consent to such bus trips.

Brown was discharged from Rawson-Neal on Feb. 11, 2013, and was bused to Sacramento, where he had no family or support waiting for him.

After an investigation of alleged cross-border dumping of mental patients, Nevada officials announced in April 2013 that two state employees were fired and three others were facing lesser discipline.

The action followed a state review of cases involving more than 1,500 patients who were released in the previous five years from Rawson-Neal, the state psychiatric hospital run by Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, and bused out of state.

Nine employees were involved in the improper discharge of patients during that time, officials said. In addition to those terminated or disciplined, four no longer were employed at the hospital.

Review-Journal writer Carri Geer Thevenot contributed to this report.

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