Nevada ACLU backing suit against ‘patient dumping’

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada is joining a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging what it calls Nevada’s policy of sending state psychiatric hospital patients to cities outside the state.

ACLU lawyer Allen Lichtenstein says the lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Las Vegas aims to stop the practice of “patient dumping” in other states.

Lichtenstein and Sacramento, Calif., lawyer Mark Merin point to Sacramento Bee newspaper reports that nearly 1,500 patients from Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas were bused to cities where they had no family, no friends, no contacts and no firm housing arrangements.

The lead plaintiff in the case is James Brown, who was sent to Sacramento in February, spurring the newspaper investigation.

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