ACTS Law recently settled two lawsuits against Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center, a/k/a Sovereign Health Group, for $2.3 million. The lawsuits concern a pattern of alleged sexual assaults that occurred months apart in 2017 at the Sovereign Health facility in Palm Desert, California. The lawsuits were filed by two ACTS Law clients who allege they had strikingly similar horrific experiences while they were patients at that Sovereign Health facility.
Our clients, who filed their lawsuits anonymously to protect their privacy, both alleged that the same employee at the facility, Adam Salcido, offered them drugs and/or money for drugs in an attempt to get them to engage in sexual acts where he would coerce these victims into oral sex for his satisfaction.
In both instances, Salcido allegedly performed sexual acts on our clients by taking advantage of their weakened physical, mental, and emotional vulnerabilities which prevented them from being able to resist Salcido’s solicitations or give legal consent to him to perform those acts on them. Both clients allege Salcido performed sexual acts on them knowing they lacked the mental capacity to give legal consent.
According to both our clients, Salcido’s alleged sexual assaults were just the tip of the iceberg. Our clients allege Salcido was not a licensed healthcare professional but was allowed by Sovereign Health to supervise and manage its patients. Additionally, our clients allege Sovereign Health knew Salcido had a history of sexually assaulting or harassing patients, but chose to do nothing about it and allowed him to stay in a position of authority over vulnerable patients despite his lack of professional license and history of sexual assault and harassment that not only was reported to management but also authorized and ratified by Sovereign Health when it failed to dismiss him from his duties for violations of the company’s own policies and procedures over inappropriate sexual misconduct.
Even more startling, our clients alleged Sovereign Health committed fraud and violated California’s deceptive business practices law by falsely advertising itself as a treatment facility for addiction and mental health, and its staff as psychotherapists. Our clients alleged the facility is actually run by a formerly licensed physician who lost his license but still advertises himself as a doctor, and a program director who falsely advertises herself as a licensed physician.
While this settlement resolves these two lawsuits, ACTS Law believes there is more work to do regarding addiction recovery facilities across California and the United States.
“Unfortunately, there are many addiction recovery facilities out there exploiting their patients because society tends to look the other way when vulnerable people who carry a stigma of requiring mental health services are taken advantage of,” said Douglas Rochen, the ACTS lawyer who filed these two lawsuits on behalf of our clients. “While we are happy to have favorably resolved these two lawsuits on behalf of our clients against Sovereign Health, our work in holding other addiction recovery facilities accountable for their wrongdoing is just getting started.”