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Virginia Senator Sues State For $6 Million

A Virginia state senator who nearly died at the hands of his mentally ill son recently filed a $6 million lawsuit against the state, its mental health services, and the caseworker who allegedly mishandled the attempt to institutionalize the troubled young man. Deeds’ hopes his lawsuit will spur the change Virginia’s mental health services urgently need.

In 2013, Austin Deeds stabbed his father 13 times before committing suicide after an unsuccessful attempt by his family to find a hospital bed for him. The attack came the morning after the young-man’s mother, Pamela Deeds, pleaded with a mental health evaluator to have her son hospitalized to avoid a psychotic event, one she believed would end in tragedy.

As a law firm committed to aiding the mentally ill and families in their time of need, our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the Deeds family. We believe no one should go without the lifesaving care he or she needs to prevent a senseless tragedy like the one that befell the Deeds.

Unfortunately for the Deeds, the caseworker assigned to their son’s case failed to evaluate Austin Deeds during the four-hour window for emergency custody order initiated by a local judge. A two-hour extension was granted, during which time the caseworker failed to contact local hospitals with available beds, according to the suit.

The lawsuit alleges negligence and medical malpractice on the part of Rockbridge Area Community Services Board. The suit further charges the mental health evaluator assigned to Deeds’ case knew or should have known about the young-man’s previous attempts at suicide yet failed to respond in a reasonable manner.

Loudoun County, Virginia mental illness attorneys

Although Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC is not providing legal representation to any of the patients in this tragic case, our firm focuses on the practice area of mental illness in Loudoun County and across Virginia. John C. Whitbeck, Jr. Esquire, our firm’s founder, is an adjunct professor of mental illness law at George Mason University Law School as well as the Director of the George Mason University Law and Mental Illness Clinic.

As a former judge for proceedings to commit mentally ill individuals to psychiatric treatment, Mr. Whitbeck knows first hand how vital it is for individuals and families to get people the treatment they need. While the law on committing someone with mental illness is complicated, it nonetheless provides families the right to retain legal counsel to help commit to get the help he or she needs.

Often times, the mentally ill fall through the cracks in the system when they should otherwise be taken care of and given the dignified evaluation and treatment they deserve. Our law firm understands these pitfalls and advocates for the safety and security of those who need help.

If your family is in a situation where you think a family member would benefit from mental health treatment or evaluation but need a court order, contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC in Virginia for a case evaluation.

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