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Rehab facility's response to wrongful death suit thrown out

Calling it deceitful and an attempt at a cover-up, the DeKalb County judge overseeing a wrongful death lawsuit against a local drug rehab facility rejected the response the facility filed with the court. The decision will make it significantly easier for the parents of a patient who died at the facility in 2008 to prevail in their suit.

The victim was convicted of drug charges and ordered to spend six months in an inpatient rehab facility. He and his parents chose Narconon after officials there told them that they were licensed to treat people on an inpatient basis. But that was not true, the parent say. In their lawsuit, they accuse Narconon of having an outpatient license only.

This is not simply a matter of improper licensing. If Narconon never was licensed for inpatient care, its facilities were never inspected by the state of Georgia to ensure that it was safe and effective for patients living there. This lack of oversight could mean that the plaintiffs' son, who died of a drug overdose while living at Narconon, was receiving questionable care or that the staff's medical training was lacking.

The suit was first filed in 2010. After reviewing Narconon's written response to the suit, the judge threw it out in a Nov. 5 court order. She said that Narconon "intentionally, willfully and repeatedly provided false and misleading responses" to the parents' discovery requests and failed to produce relevant evidence they had requested about their son's time at the facility.

With the response thrown out, the lawsuit will proceed as if Narconon never challenged the parents' allegations, unless the judge grants an appeal by the defendant.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, " Judge imposes harsh sanctions on Norcross drug treatment facility," Christian Boone, Nov. 8, 2012

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