Judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit over involuntary ER stays

December 21, 2020 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of psychiatric patients who have been involuntarily held in hospital emergency departments.

New Hampshire law requires hearings within three days to determine whether such patients are dangerous. The state argues the clock starts when someone is transferred to an inpatient facility. But in a lawsuit filed in 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union argues that the clock starts when someone arrives at the emergency room.

A federal judge on Friday denied the state’s latest request to dismiss the lawsuit, allowing it to proceed.