BOULDER, Colo. — A mistrial was declared Tuesday in a civil court case in Boulder District Court where a former patient at Clear View Behavioral Health was seeking damages from two physicians responsible for patient care inside the hospital during her stay, according to a state court source.
Former patient Lisa Sun was suing doctors Sohail Punjwani and Scott Segal — as well as Segal’s company, Compass Health Systems — for millions of dollars over her treatment at the now former mental health hospital in Johnstown. Compass is a third-party provider that also employs Punjwani.
Sun claimed that during her eight-day stay at Clear View, she never saw a doctor in person, yet was admitted and prescribed medication. She believes her care was substandard and motivated by money.
Emails composed by Punjwani and presented by Sun's attorney Jerome Reinan during the openings Monday stated that Punjwani was employed by Clear View for two years and had not seen a patient in person. Punjwani also expressed concern that his medical license and reputation were at stake.
“He confesses that he’s committing malpractice right here in this document,” Reinan said, referencing the emails.
Punjwani’s attorney worked to justify those emails.
“Dr. Punjwani at the time, April 2019 when he sent those emails, he was overworked, he was stretched thin,” defense attorney Kari Hershey said.
Julie Warren, an attorney for Segal and Compass, also tried to distance her clients from Clear View.
“At times, Clear View was reprimanded, they were fined, they were shut down, as you heard,” Julie Warren said. “Clear View had problems and they were sued. We are not Clear View, we are Compass.”
During the openings, attorneys mentioned that Clear View already settled with former patients in other lawsuits.
Denver7 Investigates spent roughly 20 months reporting on the unsanitary conditions, medication management issues — including one that resulted in the death of a patient — and accusations that patients were being held longer than necessary at Clear View. The state shut down the facility in September 2020.
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Denver7 Investigates has learned that both sides will reconvene within the next two weeks to determine next steps. If the trial resumes, a new jury likely will hear similar opening arguments.