The Tarrant County District Attorney's Office is indicting Sundance Behavioral Healthcare System on nine criminal charges for alleged violations of the Texas Mental Health Code.
Investigators alleged Sundance illegally detained patients for longer than 48 hours and, in some cases, also allegedly refused to allow voluntary patients to leave the facility.
"People turned to what they thought was a trusted medical facility and were not allowed to leave as the law requires," Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson said in a statement. "These offenses were a corporate failure, and the corporation must be held accountable."
Varghese Summersett, the law firm representing Sundance Behavioral Healthcare System, released the following statement Thursday afternoon:
"This criminal prosecution is unprecedented on a local and national scale. It also ignores legislatively enacted blanket immunity which allows medical professionals discretion in treatment and ultimately in the good-faith decision to discharge. By effectively transforming technical, regulatory complaints into criminal cases, the prosecution disregards the overwhelming chilling effect this action will have upon hospitals and medical professionals. This investigation will be vigorously challenged and any perceived violation will be aggressively defended. Sundance is a longtime accredited mental health and psychiatric facility whose professionals good-faith actions were in the best interest of their patients."