The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

Brownsville Texas judge filed lawsuit against mental health facilities

Here’s an article that gives you a feel for the situations we deal with daily in psychiatry.  After reading this, I was not really sure what to think.  I guess if you are a judge, then you must be immune to mental illness.  I don’t think it works that way, but that’s the way it sounds in this article.

Let me know what you think about this, won’t you?


A Brownsville, TX municipal judge filed a lawsuit against two mental health facilities.

Brownsville, TX—A municipal judge in Brownsville has filed a lawsuit on Friday, February 19, 2010, which alleges officials at the mental health facilities violated his civil rights and held him in “false imprisonment.” The lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for “grievous emotional harm,” he allegedly suffered when he was held in the mental health facilities in January and February, as reported by the Brownsville Herald.

The Brownsville municipal judge, Phil Bellamy, 46, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was arrested in mid-January after a dispute occurred at the Sam’s Club customer service in Brownsville. Since then he has adamantly fought against confinement at mental heath facilities and court-ordered treatment for his erratic behavior. Bellamy was first checked into the Valley Baptist Medical Center East Campus, but was released after a Cameron County court-at-law judge decided two weeks later that there wasn’t enough evidence to support that he could cause harm to others and himself. Bellamy was then taken to Rio Grande Center in Harlingen a few days after being released from the Valley facility, after friends and family reported he was acting suicidal and erratic. Another court-at-law judge, Menton Murray Jr., then ordered Bellamy to stay at Rio Grande Center to undergo treatment. Psychiatrists at the mental health facilities reported that Bellamy is “unable to perform his municipal duties, refused to take medications, had ‘flight of ideas’ and experience manic episodes of ‘grandiosity,’ in which he likened himself to fictional characters like Spock and Spongebob.”

Bellamy filed the lawsuit just two days after he was release from a Harlingen psychiatric facility. The suit named over 30 psychiatrists, nurses, administrators, CEOs and board members at Valley Baptist Health System, Rio Grande State Center and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance; Cameron County District Attorney Armando R. Villalobos, in addition to other county attorneys and Amarak Corp. in Dallas, who offers professional and food services, facilities management and uniforms to health care facilities. Bellamy claims that the defendants utilized the mental commitment procedure “ as an instrument of oppression.” The lawsuit states the “Plaintiff was involuntarily, unconstitutionally and illegally incarcerated within the walls of what passes for a mental health care system, Deep South Texas style…By so confining plaintiff, and/or by allowing the same to occur, defendants caused plaintiff to suffer the equivalent of mental rape.”

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Texas civil rights lawyers.

Here’s the link to the original article.

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February 26, 2010 - Posted by | Mental Health | , , , , , ,


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