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Case Name Doe v. BHC Fairfax Hospital, Inc. DR-WA-0004
Docket / Court 2:19-cv-00635-TSZ ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Mental Health (Facility)
Case Summary
On April 30, 2019, an anonymous plaintiff filed a civil suit against Fairfax Behavior Health (“Fairfax”) under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and state statutes. Seven additional anonymous plaintiffs joined this suit via amended complaints, all represented by Disability Rights ... read more >
On April 30, 2019, an anonymous plaintiff filed a civil suit against Fairfax Behavior Health (“Fairfax”) under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and state statutes. Seven additional anonymous plaintiffs joined this suit via amended complaints, all represented by Disability Rights Washington, a public interest organization, and private counsel. They filed suit in the Western District of Washington seeking damages for pain and suffering, compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees.

The plaintiffs were individuals with unspecified mental illnesses admitted to Fairfax for treatment. They alleged that Fairfax has an indiscriminate policy of requiring all adult and teen patients to submit to random strip and cavity searches, a policy not shared by any other psychiatric hospital in Washington State. This process was also video recorded by Fairfax in violation of patients’ privacy. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that this practice is substantially motivated by discriminatory animus towards people with serious mental health conditions requiring inpatient treatment, inhibiting those patients’ ability to receive the treatment they need.

The plaintiffs sought to bring a class action on behalf of all persons who were admitted to Fairfax between April 30, 2016 and the date of class certification. The court denied class certification in an order from Judge Thomas S. Zilly dated August 10, 2020. 2020 WL 4584228. Certification was denied because the court found that the allegedly common questions among the class were unrelated to the ADA and state law claims and because the class was defined too broadly.

The case is ongoing.

Sara Denbo - 09/30/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
State law
Defendant(s) Fairfax Behavioral Health
Plaintiff Description Mental health patients who were admitted to Fairfax for mental illness who were subjected to humiliating and traumatizing baseless strip- and cavity-searches. They sought to bring a class action on behalf of all persons admitted to BHC Fairfax Hospital between April 20, 2016 to present
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Denied
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 04/30/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
W.D. Wash.
08/10/2020
2:19-cv-00635-TSZ
DR-WA-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
W.D. Wash.
04/30/2019
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
DR-WA-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Wash.
07/07/2020
Second Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 62]
DR-WA-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Wash.
08/10/2020
Order [ECF# 65] (2020 WL 4584228)
DR-WA-0004-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Zilly, Thomas Samuel (W.D. Wash.) show/hide docs
DR-WA-0004-0003 | DR-WA-0004-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berman, Steve W. (Washington) show/hide docs
DR-WA-0004-0001 | DR-WA-0004-0002 | DR-WA-0004-9000
Carlisle, Todd Harris (Washington) show/hide docs
DR-WA-0004-0002 | DR-WA-0004-9000
Polaski, Alexa Helen (Washington) show/hide docs
DR-WA-0004-0001 | DR-WA-0004-9000
Siebrecht, Stacy Berger (Washington) show/hide docs
DR-WA-0004-0001 | DR-WA-0004-0002 | DR-WA-0004-9000
Smith, Shelby R (Washington) show/hide docs
DR-WA-0004-0001 | DR-WA-0004-0002 | DR-WA-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Neiman, Eric J (Oregon) show/hide docs
DR-WA-0004-9000
Pelkey, Emma P (Oregon) show/hide docs
DR-WA-0004-9000
Smith, Ethan A (Washington) show/hide docs
DR-WA-0004-9000
Stone, Benjamin J (Washington) show/hide docs
DR-WA-0004-9000

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