Hart v. Clendenin

Hundreds of Vulnerable Patients Stuck in Crowded Facility Hit by COVID-19 Outbreak; 110 patients with mental health disabilities test positive in ten days; 10 dead since start of pandemic

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

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