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Denver Team Wins Defense Verdict in Psychiatric Malpractice Case

Gordon & Rees Denver office co-managing partner John Palmeri and senior counsel Heather Kelly, assisted by senior counsel Stephanie Rodeno, nurse consultant Julie Powell and legal assistant Linda Bustos, successfully defended a psychiatric malpractice case. The jury returned a defense verdict following a two-week trial.

The wrongful-death case arose from the suicide of a 46-year-old man who had voluntarily admitted himself to a psychiatric facility. After several days of inpatient treatment, he was transitioned to partial hospitalization services, where he was scheduled to receive outpatient treatment but return home for nights and weekends. Following participation in partial hospitalization services, the patient was discharged home for a weekend. On Sunday evening, he left home and was found dead the following morning from an apparent suicide.

The decedent’s spouse and two children sued the treating psychiatrist and the psychiatric facility. The plaintiffs alleged the defendants failed to properly assess the decedent for suicide, negligently transitioned him to partial hospitalization and prematurely discharged the patient without a safety plan.

Gordon & Rees argued that the psychiatrist did not deviate from the applicable standard of care in her treatment of the decedent and that her actions were not the cause of his suicide.

A jury returned a verdict in favor of the psychiatrist and the facility.

John M. Palmeri