City of Dana Point Reconsiders Action Following Filing of Baseless Lawsuit
San Clemente, Calif. — July 7, 2016 — Sovereign Health, a leading national provider of behavioral health treatment services, vigorously contests a baseless complaint filed in the Superior Court of the State of California Orange County on June 22, 2016 by the City of Dana Point. The city’s lawsuit falsely alleges that Sovereign Health was operating an alcohol and drug abuse treatment facility in violation of state and local laws. Dana Point’s filing clearly demonstrates that the city has insufficient understanding of California state licensing regulations. Sovereign Health operates nine treatment facilities in five states: California, Arizona, Florida, Texas and Utah. Each facility is fully licensed in accordance with the regulations of the state where the facility is located. In addition, all Sovereign facilities have been awarded Gold Seal accreditation by the Joint Commission, the highest level of accreditation available in the behavioral health field. Dana Point’s investigation was so haphazard that no one from the city even bothered to contact Sovereign Health with regard to how the property named in the complaint was being utilized.
What is equally shameful about the Dana Point complaint is that it disregards the fact that many patients come to Sovereign Health to receive treatment for mental health issues including trauma, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Sovereign also offers treatment for cognitive impairment and eating disorders. The patient population includes male and female patients covering a broad range of ages, from adolescents to adults and senior citizens. Sovereign Health is also proud to serve active United States military personnel and returning war veterans. Reckless legal actions, like the complaint filed by the City of Dana Point, can severely threaten access to the mental health services that are desperately needed by some of the most vulnerable members of society.
It is significant to note that on June 27th, in a similar case brought to the Superior Court of the State of California Orange County against Sober Network Properties, LLC, (SNP) – a codefendant in the Dana Point complaint – by the residents and the City of San Clemente, the judge refused to order the closing of SNP’s property in San Clemente.
However, it now appears that officials of the City of Dana Point may have come to their senses. Within two days of the June 27th ruling in the San Clemente case, in letters to Sovereign Health and SNP, representatives for the city seemed to abruptly back away from the charges made in their complaint. Their representatives have asked Sovereign Health and SNP to provide information to assist Dana Point in amending or dismissing the complaint altogether.
Given the outcomes of other similar court decisions, this apparent change of heart by Dana Point is certainly in the city’s best interest. Had the city properly done its research prior to filing their initial complaint, they would have known that the San Clemente ruling is just the latest in a string of decisions by courts in California and across the country upholding the legality and legitimacy of facilities for patients undergoing treatment for mental health and substance use disorders. State and federal statutes, including sections of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), clearly identify these patients as a protected class. Unfavorable rulings in three recent cases have cost two other Orange County cities, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, millions of dollars in damages and legal fees.
Sadly, opposition by municipalities to the operation of mental health and substance use facilities is nothing new and is part of the social stigma surrounding these diseases. It is tragic at a time when our nation is in the midst of dealing with epidemic levels of mental health and substance use disorders, particularly opioid addiction. And these types of facilities should be of even more value to the citizens of San Clemente and Dana Point, whose high schools are respectively known as “Heroin High” and “Dana Pills.” Sovereign Health hopes that Dana Point will realize that not only was their complaint a mistake, but that their city and others actually need more treatment resources to deal with the current epidemic of mental health and substance use disorders.
About Sovereign Health
Sovereign Health’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of high-quality behavioral health treatment services for adults and adolescents, including support services for family members. One factor that differentiates Sovereign from other treatment providers has been the company’s ability to offer separate mental health and addiction or dual diagnosis treatment programs at its facilities. For more information, visit www.sovhealth.com.
Wendy Allen, Public Relations Manager: 866-686-0090