Ohio Lawsuit Seeks to Put Forced Psychiatry on Trial

Rob Wipond

The Ohio State Department of Mental Health, two state hospitals, state psychiatrists, and various other government agencies have been accused of “false imprisonment, medical malpractice, assault, battery, torture, and intentional infliction of mental distress” in a 140-page affidavit filed in the Ohio court of civil claims by John J. Rohrer. Rohrer has been held against his will in a psychiatric hospital and forcibly drugged for 5 years and, according to the allegations, it is that which constitutes false imprisonment and torture under federal law.

“It has been known at all relevant times that there is no blood test, no neuro-imaging, no genetic, laboratory or other testing that will validly and reliably diagnose what is being called schizophrenia, schizo-affective, or bi-polar disorder,” states the affidavit. “It has been known at all relevant times that there is no evidence that the brains of people who have not been labeled ‘mentally ill’ are different from the brains of those with a schizophrenic, schizo-affective, or bi-polar label provided that the latter group have never used pharmaceutical products.”

As a result of his being forcibly drugged for these undiagnosable conditions, the affidavit states that Rohrer suffers from “serious temporary and permanent physical and emotional pain, anguish and trauma,” and “permanent physical injuries (enlargement of the basal ganglia of the brain, permanent brain damage and some disfigurement due to irreversible tardive dyskinesia).”

“In November, 2011 Ohio voters approved Sec. 1.21 of the Ohio Constitution, which bans health care services by force,” states a press release on the Free John Rohrer website. “The United States is a signatory to a United Nations treaty, the CRPD [Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities] which considers forced drugging to be a form of torture. Federal law also defines psychotropic drugging by force to be a form of torture. The Rohrer suits attack the former Department of Mental Health, now known as OMHAS, for promoting non-scientific theories to justify excessive drugging of patients and medicare billings.”

Rohrer is being represented by attorney David L. Kastner.

Free John Rohrer, Breaking News: Lawsuits claim taxpayers SUPPORT TORTURE! (Free John Rohrer website, November 28, 2014)

JOHN J. ROHRER V. OFFICE OF THE OHIO PUBLIC DEFENDER, ET AL. (Case Number: 2014-00925, Court of Claims of Ohio)

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    • Discover: Recent article this week in The Charleston Gazette this week mentions the efforts of an advocacy group Mountain Justice that has managed to regain the ability to gain access to those in psych. lockups. I don’t know the ins or outs of the story, but it caught my attention. I will check into it. Also, Mountain Justice is mainly known for their vigorous campaign against Mountain Top Removal.

    • Anybody wanting to help should contact John’s mom, Katherine Hine, a former attorney, at katherinehine at yahoo. There are some specific things that are needed to free John Rohrer and send a message of hope and know-how to others who are struggling. John would benefit from the following:

      1.An affidavit of support – just indicating that you would be willing to provided peer support to him – whether by occasional emails or phone calls – and why that is so important, especially if he is allowed to be released pending appeal.

      2. Help with getting broader publicity – for now – from the alternative media – such as online radio shows that would include John’s ongoing struggle with Ohio’s mental illness system, with other human rights issues that are related and connected.

      3. Help finding an activist Ohio attorney, preferably in Columbus, who would not be afraid to be co-counsel with Dave in the Columbus cases.

    • We feel like this would be a first step to a class action for others in the future. It takes an individualized case, with specific rights violations that are happening to that specific person, to set a precedent and a template for others to file their individual cases. Right now what you tend to see are class actions that are microscopically focused on one tiny aspect of what one drug does. Like the law firms who only represent men with gynecomastia from taking Risperdal. Those lawsuits are assembly line productions that don’t stop the drug from being manufactured and don’t necessarily earn very much money for each individual defendant. But when you multiply it by several thousand plaintiffs and take 1/3 or 40% of the total amount recovery, the attorney who does those will do quite well. Those attorneys earn their money, but they have no interest in challenging the system.

    • In my fantasies people from everywhere would offer their assistance: lawyers who could give pro bono support with research, etc.; experts in the spuriousness of claims vis. a vis. psychiatric drugs; English professors prepared to testify that “mental illness” is a metaphor and cannot exist in a concrete sense. And more. Then you could have 1st person testimony about the horrors of psychiatric drugs. And of course the thing has to be widely publicized.

  1. I have an Ohio number you can call if you want to help out. I am not sure if I should post it here (I need to ask) but you can find it on our site, http:www.freejohnrohrer.org. We have a Twitter account as well: freejohnrohrer. I will go check right now to see if I’ve posted it.

    Julie Greene and Puzzle

  2. This is the sort of thing I’ve been waiting for. Although I’m reasonably pessimistic, this is the reality of psychiatric “treatment” and should be seen for what it is. The drugs do in fact “work” by causing brain damage, the people this is afflicted upon are in fact victims and this practice is in fact a form of torture. People who do it like to rationalize it so they can live with themselves while collecting all that money, but something like this is good for helping to break their delusions and show them what they really are.

  3. What can we do for John Rohrer? Below, I provide a few suggestions:

    –Call John on the phone and let him know you support him. Julie is apparently looking into providing his contact information. One of the most important aspects of this case is helping John to know he is supported in going forward. It has been a super long haul for him.

    –Cards are also appreciated, especially in this season.

    –Write a letter of support for John and forward it to his attorney for use in the case. Even one letter makes a difference, but I can also imagine that a stack of letters several inches high would have quite an impact.

    –If you are too far away to visit John personally and see the exact conditions in which he is living, visit someone in your own community who has been psychiatrically incarcerated for a long period of time. Listen to that person. Have them write down their story if they are willing. I don’t know what the publication criteria is for MIA anymore, but sending it in would be worth a shot. And, I will happily publish ANY stories on my personal blog.

    –Contact Ohio Disability Rights. Encourage them to support John’s case.

    –Be a presence at any public court proceedings. Take notes. Keep things honest.

    –Help John disseminate his writings.

    –While I believe it is well known that I have zero use for the so called leadership of the c/s/x movement, and have, in fact, divorced myself from the entire movement, John still needs the movement. Hopefully, there will be some recognition by the movement of the importance of this case, and some kind of effective action will result. If you consider yourself to be a visible and important leader in this capacity, mention this case at your next speaking engagement. Better yet, do something personally for John or make YOURSELF a presence at any public legal proceedings. If you can get yourself to Alternatives in Florida and the MIA Film Festival in Boston in the same year, it stands to reason you can get yourself to Ross County, Ohio.

    Thanks in advance for any support offered. Feel free to write me on any of the above.

    Sharon Cretsinger, Fired from Nearly Everything
    [email protected]

    • Sharon,

      Did you assist in getting John a lawyer? I found it was impossible to find one, even with lots of friends who’d become lawyers, blatant proof of major drug interaction psychiatric poisoning, and even a former doctor whose now been arrested by the FBI for “snowing” and killing lots of patients. Kudos, if you did.

      I hope and pray he wins John’s case, as that could change the laws in regards to psychiatric responsibility. And as a society, we really do need the laws changed and to hold all people (including psychiatrists) accountable for their crimes against others.

  4. My father was ‘put away’ for having Alzheimer’s in a mental institution and drugged so badly he could not respond to any stimulation to arose him. They would not tell us what they drugged him with and we had a lengthy court battle to get him released. All this is done ‘legally’ by the medical community and courts. So I fully understand the position John is caught in as well as countless thousands of others who need support yet may not have any recourse to address their situation. I don’t see how this draconian method helps anyone but the drug companies who make a massive profit by experimenting on people who are stripped away of their rights. And it doesn’t seem like it takes much to fall into this pit of abuse. More awareness is needed. Get the word out, most people are not aware of this.

    • I suspect that your father was probably in a nursing home or retirement center of some type. When residents of these organizations do not quiet down and do exactly as they are told to do, when they’re told to do it, they’re sent to a geripsych unit, where they are drugged into oblivion. It’s just not psych “patients” who get drugged to the gills to keep them quiet and controllable.

      The so-called antipsychotics are being used heavily in nursing home settings to control the behavior of the residents, not for their own benefit but for the benefit of the staff who don’t want to take care of them or put up with their complaints or yelling. Antipsychotics are particularly dangerous to older people, causing them to not only have cognitive problems but they experience more falls. Actually, antipsychotics are dangerous to any age group that is forced to take them. It’s disgusting.

  5. The tort cases are still going. The defendants are represented by some 4 attorneys. So many of them must share. One of the next tasks for the courts in Franklin County, Ohio will be to figure out which of the defendants, if any, have immunity, which basically will mean – is what they are accused of so egregious that it can be called bad faith or malicious? Since this article was written, on December 1, an appeal of John’s original confinement “order” was filed in Ohio’s Fourth District Court of Appeals, which is being asked to release John from the hospital pending the appeal so he can participate in his civil case. We were fortunate to have well over a dozen affidavits in support of John attached to our still pending motion for stay. The State has filed no response to date. Meanwhile John’s supporters are organizing two protests in downtown Columbus, Ohio. One is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday January 21. The other is Thursday February 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information please contact Katherine directly by going to http://www.freejohnrohrer.org, where you will find email and phone info.