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Lawsuits Filed Against Mental Health Facilities for Holding Patients Against Their Will

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Several lawsuits have been filed against various mental health facilities across the State of Texas by former patients who claim they were held against their will without cause. According to one lawsuit filed in federal court, nine individuals were held against their will after voluntarily agreeing to seek treatment at various mental health facilities including Mayhill Behavioral Health, Millwood Hospital, DeSoto at Hickory Trail, and Behavioral Hospital of Bellaire. The plaintiffs have alleged that the defendants held them against their will through a series of fraudulent and illegal acts, including falsifying documents to secure detention orders from a judge. The lawsuits also allege that the defendants use intimidation, manipulation, and fear to keep voluntary and involuntary patients from leaving the facilities.

Three of the plaintiffs claim that they voluntarily went to Mayhill Behavioral Health. Once there, they made repeated requests to leave the facility, but rather than being discharged, the patients were held against their will. In one case, Mayhill representatives told the patient's parents that she was on a 24 to 48 hour hold in an effort to give them the false impression that it was mandatory that she stay at the facility. The patient's father worked in law enforcement and eventually helped her escape the facility when continued requests to be released were ignored. Similar allegations were lodged against the other facilities. The plaintiffs in that lawsuit have asserted several claims including violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Rehabilitation Act, Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and Texas Mental Health Code. The lawsuit also includes claims of false imprisonment, civil conspiracy, medical negligence, and gross negligence. In two separate lawsuits filed in Dallas County District Court, plaintiffs claim that they were held against their will at Dallas Behavioral Healthcare Hospital. According to the lawsuits, these individuals were involuntarily committed after they voluntarily went to the facility seeking outpatient assistance. Unlike the lawsuit filed in federal court, the plaintiffs in the state court lawsuits have asserted claims for medical negligence.

If you or someone you know has been held in a mental health facility without cause, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz by calling 713-222-7211 or toll free at 1-800-870-9584.

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