Lawsuit brought by Waynesboro man improperly detained in psychiatric ward settled

Published: Oct. 10, 2016 at 1:58 PM EDT
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A lawsuit brought by a Waynesboro man who was confined to a psychiatric ward after police and health care workers mistook his physical ailment for a "psychotic disorder" has been settled.

The News Virginian reports (in an article found in the Related Links) that attorneys for plaintiff Gordon Goines announced Thursday that the settlement had been reached. Details of the settlement haven't been released. The lawsuit named several Waynesboro police officers, the Valley Community Services Board and a worker for the VCSB.

The case stems from a May 2014 incident in which Goines complained to Waynesboro police about a neighbor splicing into his cable, causing unusual noises from his TV.

Goines has cerebellar ataxia, which results in an unsteady gait and slurred speech.

Instead of investigating the theft, police mistook Goines' medical condition for "mental health issues." This resulted in Goines being transported to Augusta Health, examined by a VCSB worker, Jenna Rhodes, and then sent to Crossroads Mental Health Center for to be involuntarily held for five days.

Following the incident, Goines sued the police, the community services board and Rhodes, with the help of the Rutherford Institute, a Washington D.C.-based conservative think tank, and attorney Timothy Coffield.

Calls to Waynesboro police were referred to the city attorney, who couldn't be reached.

WHSV's original report on this situation in 2014 can be found in the 'Related Stories' section of this article.


Information from: The News-Virginian,