Hart v. Clendenin
Hundreds of patients who are involuntarily confined at Patton State Hospital, one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in the country, have health conditions that put them at high risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19. Unlike traditional medical hospitals, psychiatric hospitals such as Patton State Hospital are simply not designed to resist the spread of viral infection.
Since COVID-19 entered Patton’s patient population, at least 335 patients at Patton have tested positive for COVID-19; 110 of these patients have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days. Ten patients have died, at least 11 more have required acute hospitalization.
Disability Rights California (DRC) and Covington & Burling LLP have filed a class action lawsuit in federal court to protect the health and well-being of these medically vulnerable patients, including through discharge or transfer to safer, non-congregate settings. The lawsuit and recently filed emergency court action are also seeking an order that the facility reduce its population to at least 50% of normal capacity to allow social distancing, and that it take all necessary precautions pursuant to CDC Guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19 throughout the facility. Because Patton State Hospital has refused to make critical changes to protect these high-risk patients, court action is necessary.
Case Name: Hart, et al., v. Clendenin, et al.
Case No. 5:20-cv-1559
Significant Court Documents
- Emergency Motion to Address COVID-19 Outbreak at DSH-Patton - 12/14/20 (pdf)
- Peter Chin-Hong, MD Declaration - 12/14/20 (pdf)
- Elizabeth Jones Declaration - 12/14/20 (pdf)
- Heather Leutwyler, NP, PhD Declaration - 12/14/20 (pdf)
- Class Certification Motion - 12/14/20 (pdf)
- Complaint - 08/05/20 (pdf)
- Disability Rights California and Covington & Burling, LLP Seek Emergency Court Action to Release Medically Vulnerable Patients from Crowded State Mental Health Hospital and Save Lives in the Midst of Surging COVID-19 Outbreak - 12/15/2020
- Disability Rights California and Covington & Burling LLP File Lawsuit to Protect State Psychiatric Hospital Patients from COVID-19 - 08/06/2020
- Patton State Hospital on fast-track to vaccinate most patients and staff against coronavirus - The Orange County Register 01/29/2021
- Patton State Hospital inoculates 65% of patients to help stem deadly COVID-19 outbreak - The SUN 01/22/2021
- Patton State Hospital to vaccinate all patients against COVID-19 by this week amid major outbreak - 01/17/2021 The Press Enterprise
- As COVID-19 cases rise at a state psychiatric hospital, a federal judge mulls releasing patients - The Los Angeles Times - 01/13/2021
- State argues mentally ill patients must stay put at Patton state hospital despite COVID outbreak - The SUN 01/10/2021
- Judge to Weigh Risk of Mass Release of Psychiatric Patients - Bloomberg Law 01/12/2021
- California psychiatric hospital’s Covid-19 outbreak has sickened almost 700 - The Guardian 12/18/20
- Psychiatric Hospital Called ‘Tinderbox’ of Covid-19 Infections - Bloomberg Law 12/16/20
- Surging COVID outbreak at Patton State Hospital prompts demand for release of patients - San Bernardino Sun 12/15/20
- Could California’s psych hospitals be ordered to admit inmates with COVID? - Cal Matters 11/18/2020
- Editorial: Psychiatric hospitals, like jails, require releases in the COVID era - Los Angeles Times 08/13/2020
- CORONAVIRUS in Jails and Prisons - The Appeal 08/07/2020
- COVID-19 Outbreak at Psychiatric Hospital Spurs Lawsuit - KQED 08/06/2020
- Disability Rights Group Seeks Restraining Order Against California State Hospitals (mp3) - KQED 12/16/20