A Meadville man says he is the victim of mistaken identity which resulted in him being forcibly drugged by staff at Meadville Medical Center, according to a complaint filed in Federal Court on Wednesday.
According to his attorneys, Eugene E. Wright, 63, left his Meadville home on the afternoon of June 15, 2017 when he was confronted by two Meadville Police Department officers and a representative of the crisis center at Stairways Behavioral Health of Meadville.
Wright says police took him into custody after they accused of him of being in the doctor's office that morning when they said Wright threatened to harm himself and others.
Wright objected, saying he was at his job at an Advanced Auto Parts store that morning and that they must have the wrong person.
Wright asked both police and the Stairways representative to verify his presence at work that morning along with his identity through Social Security Card and driver's license, his attorneys say. Mr. Wright is represented by Alexander H. Lindsay, Jr. and Jessica L. Tully of The Lindsay Law Firm, P.C. in Butler, Pa.
According to the complaint, police did not check Wright's identity and proceeded to arrest him and forcibly take him to Meadville Medical Center. From there, medical personnel insisted on administering psychotropic drugs to Wright, who continued protesting he was the wrong person and that he never made threats against neither himself nor others. Wright insisted hospital personnel also verify his identity, but his attorneys say they also did not check his ID even though they say Wright was a former patient at the hospital and would have records to confirm the mistaken identity.
The hospital then "held down" and "injected" Wright with several medications used to treat psychotic and anxiety disorders, at which point Wright said "things were starting to get pretty fuzzy."
Police later learned that another "Eugene Wright" was at his doctor's office that morning threatening to harm himself and others, the complaint states. The hospital staff, police officers, and the Stairways representative admitted to mistaking Wright's identity because it was not verified on June 15, the complaint continues.
Wright was given a $50 gift card for Montana's Rib and Chop House by the hospital and a $25 gift card to Walmart by Stairways, the complaint said.
Wright is suing Meadville Medical Center alleging negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery; Stairways for negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, false arrest/false imprisonment; and two officers from the Meadville Police Department, who are listed as John Doe and Jack Doe in the complaint, and Meadville Police Chief Michael Tautin on similar allegations.
Tautin said the department was "aware" of the lawsuit as early as November 2017, but would not comment further Wednesday pending litigation.
"(Meadville Medical Center) is aware of Mr. Wright's case," said Jackie Lesher, the hospital's director of consumer engagement and marketing. "Out of respect for all parties involved we cannot comment at this time."