$5 Million Verdict Against Acadia Healthcare Sierra Tucson Psych Facility; Family Prevails in Wrongful Death of Son

June 25, 2019

In 2014, Steven Johe, 20, died of acute drug toxicity only four days in his stay at Sierra Tucson, a psychiatric facility which is owned by Acadia Healthcare, Inc. On March 24, Sierra Tucson was ordered to pay $5 million in damages to Johe's mother. 

Johe’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Sierra Tucson in 2016, saying the facility failed to see signs of distress before Johe’s condition became dire.

He died of acute drug toxicity on April 15, 2014 after being rushed to a hospital. An autopsy couldn’t determine whether the lethal drug mix was intentional or accidental, according to Arizona Daily Star archives.

Johe checked into Sierra Tucson six days prior for drug rehabilitation and mental health issues, according to the family’s lawyer, Robert Boatman.

The suit against Sierra Tucson claimed medical negligence for, among other things, not exercising reasonable care in supervising Johe, who had expressed suicidal thoughts, according to court documents. On Thursday, a jury in Pima County Superior Court rendered the $5 million verdict, Boatman said.

Johe’s mother, Jennifer Johe, said she was pleased with the verdict and the award, and it has brought her some closure. Although the money won’t bring back her son, Johe said she wanted the public to know what happened to her son while he was in Sierra Tucson’s care.

“This has been five years of my life that I’ve been fighting for justice for my son,” she said.

Following Johe’s death in 2014, the state fined the facility $250 for failing to follow its patient care policies and procedures.

Source: “Jury awards $5M to mother of man who died after stay at Sierra Tucson,” Arizona Daily Star, May 24, 2019. URL: https://tucson.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/jury-awards-m-to-mother-of-man-who-died-after/article_1995f4b4-7dad-11e9-b06c-ebbe302585ba.html


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