DENVER – A Denver-based attorney has filed a lawsuit against the parent company of the Clear View Behavioral Health center in Johnstown in which he accuses the facility of racketeering, fraud, negligence, false imprisonment and outrageous conduct.
The action follows more than a year of reporting by Contact7 Investigates into serious accusations against the 92-bed mental health hospital. The reports have been followed by five state and federal investigations and a criminal investigation by the Colorado Attorney General’s office.
Last June, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), announced it was moving to revoke the hospital’s license. An administrative law judge is scheduled to rule on CDPHE’s request in May.
“It’s abusive, said Jerome “J” Reinan, the attorney who filed the lawsuit last month. “Never seen anything like this.”
Reinan represents Angelo Scolari, who claims hospital administrators kept him at the facility longer than needed in January 2018 and believes their motivation was to maximize income from his insurance provider.
“I received zero help,” Scolari told the Contact7 Investigates team. “It was basically being locked away and told you couldn’t leave.”
Scolari’s visit to Clear View started with a 72-hour mental health hold. But he would spend 10 days inside the mental health hospital, even though he said he was ready to leave. He claims that employees at the facility also told him he was ready to leave but that administrators would not let him.
He described seeing a doctor for just two minutes a day and living in unsanitary and squalid conditions – with toilets clogged for days, dirty trays and plates on which to eat, and his feet sticking to the un-mopped floors.
Once he finally was released, Scolari discovered a year’s worth of testimonials of experiences similar to his from people who spoke with Contact7 Investigates as the investigation into Clear View continued.
“I called my wife and said, ‘That’s exactly what happened to me. I told you that’s what’s going on, and look here, it’s happened to other people,’” Scolari said.
Reinen has heard concerns raised by Scolari and more than 60 other former patients, family members and both current and former Clear View employees that have created the foundation of the lawsuit against Clear View’s owner, Strategic Behavioral Health.
“Why is it that the government leaves it to the media and to the lawyers to regulate when it’s their statutory job?” he questioned.
In the 19-page lawsuit filed Dec. 27 in Larimer County District Court, Scolari’s legal team describes what it calls Clear View’s history of fraud and accuses the mental health facility of negligence, false imprisonment, outrageous conduct and racketeering.
“If they continue to do this to people like my client, then the court has the opportunity and the ability under the racketeering statutes to shut them down,” Reinen said.
It’s a legal move to give a voice to the voiceless.
“It makes me emotional that, you know, myself and people are going to the hospital for help and they are not getting any,” Scolari said. “And to know that somebody is doing that for profit, or for whatever reason … it upsets me. It makes me sick to my stomach.”
Investigations by the state and federal agencies are ongoing. In June, the state of Colorado announced it was revoking Clear View’s license.
Contact7 Investigates requested comment from Clear View’s ownership and local legal team but neither was able to provide reaction to the lawsuit.