Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Sets New Precedent in Favor of MHB Client Who Was Wrongfully Detained for 55 Days

Posted by Denny Krantz

Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in favor of MHB’s client, Kenneth Rawson, in a precedent-setting civil rights opinion. The Court held that when private evaluation and treatment (E&T) facilities and their employees act under the state’s Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) they are like private prisons, depriving people of their liberty by virtue of state power. As a result, these private entities and their employees are subject to federal civil rights law--the same as government officials. Since the Court explained that the “arrangement the State has devised for involving private actors in long-term involuntary commitments” requires this conclusion, all private facilities implementing the ITA in the state of Washington likely act under color of law when they confine persons against their will. As a result, the Court held that the defendants are subject to liability under federal civil rights law for wrongfully confining Mr. Rawson against his will for 55 days, petitioning the court to extend his confinement, and involuntarily medicating him with anti-psychotic medication. You can read the opinion here:

Post Contributors:

Jesse Wing, Tim Ford

Post Categories:

Civil Rights, Litigation

Advancing Justice, Freedom, Equality & Opportunity.

Since 1952, we have been helping individual and corporate clients navigate immigration laws and fight for their civil rights and liberties. We look forward to working with you.

View Practice Areas