SEATTLE—Attorneys from Hagens Berman and Disability Rights Washington filed a class-action complaint on behalf of a proposed class of hundreds of patients that were arbitrarily strip-searched and/or video recorded while receiving treatment for mental illness at Fairfax psychiatric facilities located in Kirkland, Everett and Monroe, WA.
According to the lawsuit, filed Apr. 30, 2019 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle, the suit's named plaintiff recalls being ordered to undress for an invasive strip-search and cavity search when she presented for inpatient admission, even after disclosing her history of sexual abuse to the staff member. She was not given a gown or towel to cover up during the search, and the staff member watched her undress and left the door open where other staff members could see her, and threatened to restrain her if she did not comply.
Video cameras were located in the hallway, the holding area outside bathroom and the room where the strip search was conducted. The cameras recorded her undressing and the strip-search.
The complaint states that Fairfax’s practices – and its failure to limit the discretion of its staff – means that a substantial number of its mental health patients are harmed instead of receiving adequate inpatient care.
“Fairfax violated their duty of care by performing invasive searches without suspicion and using video cameras throughout the hospital," said Steve Berman. “Our class-action lawsuit seeks systemic changes to Fairfax’s protocols that will create safer hospitals for patients needing help.”
The plaintiffs seek punitive damages and injunctive relief restraining Fairfax from strip searching patients without an individualized assessment that the patient possesses drugs or weapons that constitute an immediate threat to life or safety and restrains Fairfax from recording patients during the search. The plaintiffs also seek an order requiring Fairfax to create protocols for conducting invasive searches that require an individualized assessment of immediate danger to self or others.
Victims Can Remain Anonymous
Your protection is our top priority. We welcome any information, and those who contact our firm may remain anonymous in their potential case. Attorneys will request that the Court permit our clients to proceed anonymously as a Jane Doe or John Doe. Our attorneys have experience in protecting plaintiffs who wish to remain anonymous, both as whistleblowers and as survivors of discriminatory or sexual misconduct.
Our attorneys are experienced in representing victims of various kinds of discrimination, fraud, negligence, abuse and sexual harassment. We take on large entities and corporations on behalf of those most vulnerable to wrongdoing, and hold them accountable.
Our team has the knowledge, experience and resources. Your claim will be handled by experts in this area of law who will care for your rights.
Your Rights and Protections
If you were a patient at a Fairfax-operated location and believe your rights were violated, we want to hear from you. Please fill out the form to contact our legal team or call Hagens Berman attorney Shelby Smith at 206-268-9370 or Disability Rights Washington attorney Alexa Polaski at 206-324-1521. Our secure messaging offers a safe space to those speaking out.
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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with nine offices across the country. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.
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About Disability Rights Washington
Disability Rights Washington is a private non-profit organization that protects the rights of people with disabilities statewide. Our mission is to advance the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities. We work to pursue justice on matters related to human and legal rights. More information about the firm can be found at www.disabilityrightswa.org