Posts Tagged ‘city attorney’

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Reaches $4.4 Million Settlement with California Art Institute – Students Getting Cash

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

The News of the Day, re: Argosy University:

“Herrera reaches $4.4 million agreement in dispute over for-profit college’s marketing. California Art Institutes’ ownership to settle for $1.95 million; fund returning student and new student scholarships; and re-calculate graduation and job placement rates

SAN FRANCISCO (June 17, 2014) – City Attorney Dennis Herrera today settled an unlitigated claim against California Art Institutes’ parent company in a consumer protection dispute over marketing tactics that allegedly underestimated program costs for students and inflated job placement figures for graduates.

Under terms of the agreement with Educational Management Corporation, the Pittsburgh-based for-profit educational provider will pay San Francisco $1.95 million to settle the dispute; endow a $1.6 million scholarship fund for non-graduating California Art Institute students who wish to return to finish their studies; and offer $850,000 in general scholarships to new students.  The agreement—formally an “Assurance of Voluntary Compliance” that is legally binding and enforceable in court—includes provisions for a sweeping array of reforms to Educational Management Corporation’s marketing and reporting practices.  The accord, which avoids litigation, includes no admissions of wrongdoing.

“I hope this agreement is a bellwether for other for-profit colleges, highlighting the need to fully inform students about their education costs and job placement prospects,” said Herrera.  “In a workplace where so much depends on education and training, students deserve accurate information about the schools they attend—and that’s exactly what California law requires.  I applaud Educational Management Corporation for its industry leadership in working with us cooperatively and productively.  They’ve shown a commendable willingness to address concerns about their current and former students, and to avoid similar problems moving forward.”

The $1.6 million Returning Student Scholarship Fund will be distributed to students who withdrew from California Art Institute programs between 2009 and today, and will be available to returning students for five years or until it is exhausted.  EDMC and the City Attorney’s Office will work together to publicize the fund to reach out to eligible former students.  EDMC has also agreed to new methods of calculating the percentage of enrolling students that graduate with degrees, and the percentages of students that are employed and that are employed within their field of study; and to publicize those recalculated figures in their promotional materials.  The school also agreed to train advisors to counsel students on the long term effects of student loan debt and default.

As is common with Assurances of Voluntary Compliance reached outside of litigation, the agreement also includes enforcement provisions that compel EDMC to notify the City Attorney of any breaches of the agreement on its part, and a stipulation that a material violation by EDMC will be considered evidence of an unfair business practice that the City could make the subject of a future lawsuit.”

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Files Legal Action to End Unlawful SFMTA MUNI “Sick-Out,” Compels Union to Arbitrate

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

The news of the day, this third day of our MUNI crisis:

“Herrera files legal action to end unlawful “sick-out” and compel union to arbitrate wage and benefits dispute

Charges filed before Public Employees Relations Board allege union is flouting contract and City Charter provisions that could bring an end to three-day-old work stoppage

SAN FRANCISCO (June 4, 2014)— On the third day of an unlawful employee “sick-out,” in which transit workers are calling in sick en masse after contract negotiations with the Municipal Transportation Agency reached an impasse, City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed unfair labor practice charges with California’s public labor relations body against Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, seeking to compel the union to end the sick-out and abide by the City Charter by allowing a neutral arbitration board to resolve its contract dispute with the MTA. The charges, filed at the Public Employees Relations Board, the state agency that administers collective bargaining statutes covering public employees, state that in the wake of the union’s rejection of the MTA’s contract offer, the Charter of San Francisco requires the union and the City to submit to the decision of a neutral three-member arbitration board. The complaint further alleges that the sick-out is illegal under both state law and the existing contract with the workers.

“This is an unfortunate attempt by the union to get around a law and contract provisions they don’t like,” Herrera said Tuesday. “The Charter is clear that an impasse such as this one is resolved with neutral arbitration. Let’s do what the law says, begin the arbitration process, and get San Francisco moving again as soon as humanly possible.”

The PERB can take as much as a year or more to issue rulings on allegations of unfair labor practices, but San Francisco officials are hopeful that the filing of the complaint can spur the union into doing the right thing. “Our transit operators have very difficult jobs and deserve fair and competitive wages in return,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “At the same time, we have an obligation to provide transit service for 700,000 riders a day and we are asking the union to follow provisions in the Charter and get everyone back to work.”

The existing contract between the union and the MTA forbids strikes and work stoppages such as the sick-out. The MTA announced Monday that it would not pay transit workers for sick time taken during the sick-out unless workers could document that they in fact met the criteria to claim sick leave.

Appendix A, section A8.409-4(a) of the San Francisco City Charter states that “disputes… which remain unresolved after good faith bargaining between the City and County of San Francisco, on behalf of its departments, boards and commissions, and a recognized employee organization representing classifications of employees covered under this part shall be submitted to a three-member Mediation/Arbitration Board (“the Board”) upon the declaration of an impasse either by the authorized representative of the City and County of San Francisco or by the authorized representative of the recognized employee organization involved in the dispute.”

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Sues Short-Term Rental Scofflaws for Illegal Conversions, Unlawful Business Practices – Ellis Act, Baby!

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

[UPDATE: Direct link here and the full press kit with complaint here.]

City Attorney Dennis Herrera, The Happy Warrior:

“Herrera sues short-term rental scofflaws for illegal conversions, unlawful business practices

Two cases target ‘egregious offenders’—both involving Ellis Act evictions of disabled tenants to illegally convert residential apartments into tourist lodging

SAN FRANCISCO (April 23, 2014) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed two separate lawsuits against short-term rental scofflaws for illegally converting residential apartments into commercial tourist lodging, which the property owners then marketed through such online platforms as Airbnb, Homeway.com and VRBO.com.  In both cases, the defendants had previously evicted long-term residents from their apartments under the Ellis Act, a state law that allows landlords to evict tenants and withdraw their properties from the residential rental market.  Two of the evicted tenants were disabled, according to San Francisco Superior Court and Rent Board records cited in today’s pleadings.

“In the midst of a housing crisis of historic proportions, illegal short-term rental conversions of our scarce residential housing stock risks becoming a major contributing factor,” said Herrera.  “The cases I’ve filed today target two egregious offenders.  These defendants didn’t just flout state and local law to conduct their illegal businesses, they evicted disabled tenants in order to do so.  Today’s cases are the first among several housing-related matters under investigation by my office, and we intend to crack down hard on unlawful conduct that’s exacerbating—and in many cases profiting from—San Francisco’s alarming lack of affordable housing.  I’m grateful to the city departments, including the San Francisco Planning Department, and community advocates who have worked with my office to help us pursue these kinds of scofflaws.  And I encourage tenants and neighbors to report housing-related wrongdoing online to my office through our Up2Code.org website or the Up2Code app, or by calling our Code Enforcement Hotline at (415) 554-3977.”

Herrera’s complaints filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning detail pervasive violations of the city Planning Code and state Unfair Competition Law at three addresses: 3073-3075 Clay Street, owned by defendants Darren and Valerie Lee; and 734 and 790 Bay Street, which is owned or managed by defendants Lev, Tamara and Tatyana Yurovsky.  If successful, the litigation could result in permanent court-ordered injunctions; civil penalties of up to $200 per day for Planning Code violations; up to $2,500 for each unlawful business act; disgorgement of illegally obtained profits; and attorneys’ fees.  Though the Ellis Act itself does not preclude the commercial use of properties for tourists where long-term tenants have previously been evicted, Herrera’s litigation emphasized longstanding city policy that tourist conversions of residential properties be aggressively policed “in order to protect the residents and to conserve the limited housing resources.”

According to one of Herrera’s civil actions, defendants Darren and Valerie Lee purchased 3073-3075 Clay Street in 2004, and invoked the Ellis Act in 2005 to evict their tenants from both of the property’s residential units.  One of the evicted tenants was disabled.  Evidence presented in the complaint found that the Lees have marketed 3075 Clay Street, a four-bedroom, three-bathroom property, for tourist lodging on such vacation websites such as Homeaway.com and VRBO.com since 2009, describing it as an “exquisitely renovated home, in prime Pacific Heights.”  The Lees charged their guests between $395 and $595 per night for a minimum stay of three nights.  But in doing so, the owners flouted the city’s required conditional use authorization process—depriving neighbors and city planners of their role to first determine whether the conversion is necessary or desirable; compatible with the neighborhood; detrimental to the City’s housing stock; or consistent with the city’s Planning Code or Planning Department’s General Plan.  According to Herrera’s complaint, San Francisco’s Planning Department repeatedly cited the Lees for their illegal use of the property for commercial tourist lodging, even collecting penalties of as much $250 per day for violations.  The Lees—who at one point assured Planning Department officials that their illegal conduct had stopped—then defiantly resumed marketing and renting their property to tourists.  In 3073 Clay Street, the Lees evicted a disabled tenant who had lived in the unit for more than ten years and, until evicted, was paying $1,087 per month.  By invoking the Ellis Act, the Lees were legally restricted until August 25, 2011, from re-renting the unit at market rate.  But evidence presented in Herrera’s action shows that the Lees admitted to the Planning Department that they had, in fact, re-rented 3073 Clay Street and charged their new residential tenants between $5,000-$7,038 per month.

Herrera’s other civil complaint against Lev, Tamara and Tatyana Yurovsky notes that they, too, used the Ellis Act to evict long-term residential tenants — including one who was disabled — from one of their properties, at 734 Bay Street.  Together with a residential unit at another of their properties owned by Lev and Tatyana and managed by Tamara, at 790 Bay Street, the Yurovskys illegally converted their apartments into tourist use beginning in 2010.  They marketed the rentals to tourists on Airbnb.com and “greatsfvacation.com” for rates of between $165 and $320 per night, with three-night minimum stays.  Though the Yurovsky defendants boasted on social media that they had hosted several hundred tourists, according to evidence detailed in the complaint, they too flouted the city’s conditional use authorization process, violating the San Francisco Planning Code and state law.

The cases are: City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Darren Lee et al., San Francisco Superior Court No. 538857; and City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Tamara Yurovsky et al., San Francisco Superior Court No. 538854.  Additional documentation from the case is available on the City Attorney’s website at:http://www.sfcityattorney.org/.

Isn’t This Kind of Chalk-On-The-Sidewalk Ad Seen on Haight Street Illegal in San Francisco? The Answer Will Amaze You!

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Or rather, the answer will amaze the owner of this cafe in the Upper Haight area.

That’s ’cause, yes, this kind of thing isn’t permitted in the City & County.

Click to expand

City Attorney Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Says “MeetMe.Com” Enables Sexual Predators and Child Stalkers

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

All the deets:

“MeetMe.com enables sexual predators and child stalkers, San Francisco’s lawsuit contendsSocial network’s unlawful publication of minors’ profiles, photos and geolocation data has been used to victimize children as young as 13 years of age — and younger

SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 3, 2014) — San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against MeetMe, a popular social networking platform that facilitates interactions among strangers, over inadequate privacy protections and unlawful publication of minors’ profiles, photos, and location data, which can enable sexual predators and stalkers to target children as young as 13 years of age.

The civil complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning alleges that the New Hope, Pa.-based MeetMe, Inc. is violating California’s Unfair Competition Law by relying on legally invalid consent from minors between the ages of 13 and 17 to collect and improperly distribute their real-time geolocation and personal user information.  Approximately 25 percent of MeetMe.com’s user base is under the age of 18, according to social media marketing statistics cited in Herrera’s complaint.  The lawsuit additionally alleges that MeetMe fails to adequately disclose to users how their personal data is distributed.

“MeetMe has become a tool of choice for sexual predators to target underage victims, and the company’s irresponsible privacy policies and practices are to blame for it,” said Herrera.  “MeetMe improperly collects personal information from young teens — including their photos and real-time locations.  It then distributes that information in ways that expose children to very serious safety risks.  Sadly, these risks aren’t hypothetical.  Dozens of children nationwide have already been victimized by predators who used MeetMe to coerce minors into meeting.  Under California law, MeetMe’s reckless business practices are illegal, and we’re asking a court to put an end to them.”

MeetMe has been a key factor in numerous crimes involving sexual assault and illicit sex with minors in California, according to news reports documented in Herrera’s complaint.  In Aug. 2013, a 29-year-old Citrus Heights, Calif. man was charged with multiple counts of sexual acts with a minor and communicating with minors for unlawful purposes.  Police investigators found that MeetMe was among the apps the perpetrator used to send sexually-explicit photos and text messages to underage girls in order to begin a “sexting” relationship that ultimately progressed to sexual contact.  A Fresno, Calif. man was arrested in Oct. 2013 on suspicion of sexually assaulting a minor that he met using MeetMe, according to news reports, and in July 2013 a 21-year-old Fair Oaks, Calif. man was criminally charged after posing as a 16-year-old boy to have sex with two girls — aged 12 and 15 — whom he met using MeetMe.

Dozens of minors nationwide have been similarly victimized in sex crimes by predators who relied on MeetMe to target their underage victims, according to reports cited in the complaint.  In June 2013, a Tewksbury, Mass. man was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to more than 50 charges, including rape of a child by force, indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.  The man used multiple aliases on MeetMe to trick teenage girls into sending him nude images.  He then threatened to publish the photos in order to blackmail victims into having sex with him.  A Wilmerding, Penn. man, who was criminally charged in Sept. 2013, used MeetMe to meet and then sexually assault three teenagers.  In Grady County, Okla., a 25-year-old man used MeetMe to meet and rape a 15-year-old girl.  An Albuquerque TV news station, reporting on MeetMe’s role in the case of a 21-year-old man who was arrested for soliciting sex with a 13-year-old girl, noted: “Investigators say it’s the latest site predators are cruising to find new victims, and it’s happening all too often.”

The lawsuit, which was investigated and filed by Herrera’s Consumer Protection Unit, is seeking a court order to enjoin MeetMe from continuing to engage in activities in California that violate state law; civil penalties of up to $2,500 for each violation found to have occurred in the state; and costs of the City Attorney’s lawsuit.

About the S.F. City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit
The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office’s Consumer Protection Unit pursues public interest civil cases under California’s Unfair Competition Law, which are funded virtually exclusively by civil recoveries — not taxpayer dollars.  The award-winning program, for which the National Association of Consumer Advocates recognized Dennis Herrera as its 2009 Consumer Attorney of the Year, reflects voter-enacted changes to California law that require civil penalties recovered by public prosecutors to be used exclusively to enforce consumer protection laws.  Since voters passed the amendments as part of Proposition 64 in 2004, Herrera’s Consumer Protection Unit has recovered some $20 million in successful battles against unlawful business practices that include price-fixing, illegal marketing, credit card collections arbitration scams and more.  The unit’s work has helped win equally important industry reforms to help protect consumer privacy, end discriminatory practices in health insurance and media metrics, protect immigrants, halt predatory evictions, and obtain recoveries for victims of wage theft.

The litigation is: People of the State of California ex rel. Dennis Herrera v. MeetMe, Inc. et al. (San Francisco Superior Court Case No. 537126, filed Feb. 3, 2014).  Complete documentation on the case is available at: http://www.sfcityattorney.org/.”

Assignment Desk: Call Up AAA Flag & Banner at 431-2950 and Ask About Them Making Both Pro and Anti Abortion Banners

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Here’s how things look on Market Street these days.

And here’s how things looked a couple years back:

Click to expand

“Milo is masterful but corrupt, parlaying his position as mess officer (in charge of the dining hall) into personal direction of M & M Enterprises, controlling all sorts of goods and services, from fresh eggs to prostitutes. Before long, his business is international; planes arrive daily from such markets as Liberia, London, and Karachi. He deals with everyone except the Russians, eschewing their trade because they are Communists. Nonetheless, he has no problem doing business with America’s primary European enemy, Nazi Germany. Milo even profits from specific battles. When the Allies plan to bomb a highway bridge at Orvieto, Milo arranges to conduct the attack for them. But he also agrees with the Germans to defend the same bridge with antiaircraft fire, bargaining for cost plus six percent from each side, plus a “merit bonus” of $1,000 from the Germans for each plane shot down. Having arranged all the details, Milo has no trouble convincing both sides to furnish their own men and equipment. He thus makes a nice profit by signing his name twice.”

San Francisco Is Being Trolled by the Anti-Abortion People and Here’s the Proof – Plus, What the Banners Look Like

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

All right, let’s pay off on that headline:

Eva Muntean, co-chair of the Walk for Life West Coast said “We are delighted with the publicity our banners have already generated. We urge all people of good will to join us on January 25 …

You see, they want you to call these banners a “hate crime.”

And here’s a banner:

A Courthouse Victory for CCSF: “City College Wins Reprieve, as Court Enjoins ACCJC from Terminating Accreditation”

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

The Big Battle of Boxing Day 2013 is over and here’s the result:

“City College wins reprieve, as court enjoins ACCJC from terminating accreditation – Herrera grateful to court ‘for acknowledging what accreditors callously won’t: that the educational aspirations of tens of thousands of City College students matter’

SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 2, 2014) — A San Francisco Superior Court judge has granted a key aspect of a motion by City Attorney Dennis Herrera to preliminarily enjoin the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges from terminating City College of San Francisco’s accreditation next July.  Under terms of the ruling Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow issued late this afternoon, the ACCJC is barred from finalizing its planned termination of City College’s accreditation during the course of the litigation, which alleges that the private accrediting body has allowed political bias, improper procedures, and conflicts of interest to unlawfully influence its evaluation of the state’s largest community college.  Judge Karnow denied Herrera’s request for additional injunctive relief to prevent the ACCJC from taking adverse accreditation actions against other educational institutions statewide until its evaluation policies comply with federal regulations.  A separate motion for a preliminary injunction by plaintiffs representing City College educators and students was denied.

In issuing the injunction, the court recognized that Herrera’s office is likely to prevail on the merits of his case when it proceeds to trial, and that the balance of harms favored the people Herrera represents as City Attorney.  On the question of relative harms, Judge Karnow’s ruling was emphatic in acknowledging the catastrophic effect disaccreditation would hold for City College students and the community at large, writing: “There is no question, however, of the harm that will be suffered if the Commission follows through and terminates accreditation as of July 2014.  Those consequences would be catastrophic.  Without accreditation the College would almost certainly close and about 80,000 students would either lose their educational opportunities or hope to transfer elsewhere; and for many of them, the transfer option is not realistic.  The impact on the teachers, faculty, and the City would be incalculable, in both senses of the term: The impact cannot be calculated, and it would be extreme.”

“I’m grateful to the court for acknowledging what accreditors have so far refused to: that the educational aspirations of tens of thousands of City College students matter,” said Herrera.  “Judge Karnow reached a wise and thorough decision that vindicates our contention that accreditors engaged in unfair and unlawful conduct.  Given the ACCJC’s dubious evaluation process, it makes no sense for us to race the clock to accommodate ACCJC’s equally dubious deadline to terminate City College’s accreditation.”

Judge Karnow adjudicated four separate pre-trial motions in today’s ruling following two days of hearings on Dec. 26 and 30.  Herrera filed his motion for preliminary injunction on Nov. 25 — three months after filing his initial lawsuit — blaming the ACCJC for procedural foot-dragging and delay tactics, which included a failed bid to remove the case to federal court and its months-long refusal to honor discovery requests.  Judge Karnow granted in part and denied in part Herrera’s motion, issuing an injunction that applies only to the ACCJC’s termination deadline for City College’s accreditation, and not statewide.

Apart from Herrera’s motion, AFT Local 2121 and the California Federation of Teachers also moved for a preliminary injunction onNov. 25, citing additional legal theories.  That motion was denied.  A third motion by the ACCJC asked the court to abstain from hearing the City Attorney’s lawsuit for interfering with complex accrediting processes largely governed by federal law; or, failing that, to stay Herrera’s action pending the outcomes of City College’s accreditation proceeding and ACCJC’s own efforts to renew its recognition with the U.S. Department of Education.  A fourth motion, also by the ACCJC, requested that the court strike the AFT/CFT’s case under California’s Anti-SLAPP statute, which enables defendants to dismiss causes of actions that intend to chill the valid exercise of their First Amendment rights of free speech and petition.  (SLAPP is an acronym for “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.”)  Both of the ACCJC’s pre-trial motions were denied.

The ACCJC has come under increasing fire from state education advocates, a bipartisan coalition of state legislators and U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier for its controversial advocacy to dramatically restrict the mission of California’s community colleges by focusing on degree completion to the detriment of vocational, remedial and non-credit education.  The accrediting body’s political agenda — shared by conservative advocacy organizations, for-profit colleges and student lender interests — represents a significant departure from the abiding “open access” mission repeatedly affirmed by the California legislature and pursued by San Francisco’s Community College District since it was first established.

Herrera’s action, filed on Aug. 22, alleges that the commission acted to withdraw accreditation “in retaliation for City College having embraced and advocated a different vision for California’s community colleges than the ACCJC itself.”  The civil suit offers extensive evidence of ACCJC’s double standard in evaluating City College as compared to its treatment of six other similarly situated California colleges during the preceding five years.  Not one of those colleges saw its accreditation terminated.

The City Attorney’s case is: People of the State of California ex rel. Dennis Herrera v. Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges et al., San Francisco Superior Court No. 13-533693, filed Aug. 22, 2013.  The AFT/CFT case is: AFT Local 2121 et al. v. Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges et al., San Francisco Superior Court No. 534447, filed Sept. 24, 2013.  Documentation from the City Attorney’s case is available online at: http://www.sfcityattorney.org.”

Oh, It’s On! A Boxing Day Courthouse Showdown Betwixt CCSF and the ACCJC – Thursday, Thursday, Thursday!

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Comes now San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, in the baby blue trunks…

…taking on the nameless, faceless Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, in the dark blue trunks.

I don’t think there’s any argument against the contention that City College of San Francisco has screwed up BIG TIME, and I think we all can agree that the ACCJC is not a perfect organization.

Anyway, Round XXXVII is coming up Thursday AM:

“Court will hear City Attorney’s motion to forbid de-accrediting City College
*** Thursday, Dec. 26, 9:00 a.m. ***

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 24, 2013)—As a part of its lawsuit to prevent the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) from revoking the accreditation of City College of San Francisco, City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office will be appearing in San Francisco Superior Court on Thursday, December 26 to ask the court for a preliminary injunction in the case.

What: Hearing on plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction in the case of People of the State of California v. Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

When: Thursday, December 26, 2013, 9:00 a.m. Note: the court’s calendar begins at 9:00 a.m., but this particular motion may be heard at any time between 9:00 a.m. and the conclusion of the court’s morning business

Where: Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco (Complex Litigation Department), 400 McAllister St., Department 304, San Francisco, CA

If the motion is granted, the Court would not only forbid the ACCJC from de-accrediting City College until the conclusion of the case, but would acknowledge that the City is likely to prevail on the merits of the case should it go to trial.”

 

“Nevada ‘patient dumping’ led to crimes–including a murder–Sacramento Bee reports”

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

The latest:

“Nevada ‘patient dumping’ led to crimes–including a murder–Sacramento Bee reports

San Francisco City Attorney suing Nevada over improper discharge, busing practices says news ‘confirms our worst fears: that some of these trips led to tragedies’

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — In a major follow-up story on the State of Nevada’s controversial psychiatric patient discharge and busing practices, which critics have called “patient dumping,” the Sacramento Bee today reported that dozens of the more than 1,000 patients the newspaper was able to identify went on to commit crimes in locales to which Nevada officials bused them.  Included among the crimes committed by patients discharged from the state-run Rawson Neal Hospital in Las Vegas were one murder, another attempted murder, detonating explosives in a grocery store, failing to register as a sex offender, and an apparent suicide.  The report is available online at http://sacb.ee/1dCtXve.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, whose office is currently pursuing a class action lawsuit against Nevada on behalf of California local governments to which indigent psychiatric patients were improperly bused, issued the following statement in response to today’s new revelations.

“Earlier this year, federal auditors identified multiple instances in which Rawson Neal patients were clinically diagnosed as homicidal and suicidal–and yet were still bused within hours to remote destinations,” said Herrera.  “Today’s news from the Sacramento Bee’s investigative report confirms our worst fears: that some of these trips led to tragedies.  We know from federal audits that Nevada officials bused at least one patient who was diagnosed as homicidal to San Francisco.  We also know that their clinical records reflect nothing about where that patient would stay, or access mental health services once here.  I hope this report is wake-up call to local governments nationwide that they, too, may be paying a heavy price for Nevada’s reprehensible conduct.”

Auditors from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is evaluating whether to revoke the hospital’s Medicare funding, included extensive reviews of Rawson Neal’s confidential clinical records.  Some of the resultant auditors’ reports, which have been released to the public, contain references to homicidal and suicidal patients whom Nevada officials discharged and bused out of state, including: the March 20, 2013 U.S. CMS Complaint Investigation; and the May 9, 2013 U.S. CMS EMTALA Complaint Investigation.  Both are among the records available for download on the San Francisco City Attorney’s website at http://sfcityattorney.org/index.aspx?page=519.

Herrera’s class action, filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Sept. 10, seeks a court-ordered injunction barring Nevada from similar patient discharge practices in the future, and reimbursement for San Francisco’s costs to provide care to the patients bused there.  If successful, San Francisco’s claim for reimbursement of the amounts expended to care for indigent patients bused from Nevada would benefit all California jurisdictions by setting a precedent for restitution to all jurisdictions able to demonstrate claims for damages and restitution substantially similar to San Francisco’s.  The suit additionally seeks injunctive relief that would apply statewide to prohibit Nevada from continuing to transfer non-residents into California without prior arrangements for patients’ care, or in a manner that violates state or federal standards governing patient discharges.

The case is: City and County of San Francisco v. State of Nevada et al., San Francisco Superior Court, filed Sept. 10, 2013.

SOURCE  City Attorney of San Francisco

City Attorney of San Francisco

Web Site: http://www.sfcityattorney.org