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November 27, 2014

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Judge won’t reconsider dismissal of patient-dumping lawsuit against psychiatric hospital

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Sam Morris

This is the front sign for the Rawson Neal Psychiatric Hospital Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

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 it was correct to dismiss claims filed last June on behalf of James Flavy Coy Brown.

State health officials said they were pleased with the order.

“The court again found that Rawson-Neal Hospital did not violate plaintiff’s constitutional rights or provisions of federal law and affirms that Mr. Brown’s lawsuit is without merit,” said Richard Whitley, administrator of the state Division of Public and Behavioral Health.

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

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.

“We are not discouraged,” Lichtenstein said, noting several inaccuracies in Mahan’s ruling.

Las Vegas Sun reporter Cy Ryan and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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