Monday, March 14, 2022

Court Recognizes Duty of a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facility to Prevent Drug Overdose of its Patients

In the case of Ramsey v. Salvation Army, No. 21-557 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 14, 2022 Dodge, Mag. J.), a Western District Federal Magistrate judge denied a Motion to Dismiss and found that a Plaintiff had sufficiently stated a claim for negligence in the treatment of the decedent’s drug addiction, even though the decedent ultimately broke the Defendant treatment facilities’s rules against drug use.  The decedent had a fatal overdose.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff's decedent had left the facility with two other residents to take drugs.  When they came back to the facility, the Plaintiff's decedent was incoherent and was being assisted into the facility by his friends back to his room.  Along the way, the individuals encountered at least two of the treatment facilities workers who did not intervene.  The next morning, the Plaintiff's decedent was found unresponsive and died later that same day.  

The court found that the Plaintiff had stated a plausible claim that the Defendant drug and alcohol in-patient treatment facility owed a duty to prevent in-patient residents from overdosing.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck from the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

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