DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Health and Hospital Authority has settled a lawsuit filed by a college student who claimed he was “completely humiliated” during a 15-hour stay at the Denver C.A.R.E.S. detox facility. But DHHA is refusing to reveal how much the agency paid the student over the 2008 incident.
“The information contained in the … agreement cannot be released pursuant to state and federal law,” wrote Dee Martinez, Denver Health Director of Public Relations and Marketing.
Despite several requests, Martinez did not identify what federal law precluded Denver Health from releasing the amount of the settlement.
A CBS4 Investigation exposed the student’s saga with Denver C.A.R.E.S. On Oct. 11, 2008, the student admitted he was “fairly intoxicated” after attending a beer festival at the Colorado Convention Center. Denver Police were called after the student became rowdy and refused to leave.
The student was not arrested or charged but was taken to Denver’s detox facility. There, he spent an estimated 15 hours in a 5 foot by 6 foot concrete cell called a “quiet room” with no running water and no toilet. When he had to urinate, videotape obtained in the CBS4 probe showed Denver C.A.R.E.S. attendants using the student’s clothes to mop up his urine. They then gave him his urine soaked clothes the next morning when he checked out.
“Basically it was like marinating my property in piss is what they did. I don’t think anyone would ever want to go through that night. It’s just ridiculous to treat someone that way,” the student said.
The student filed a lawsuit via his attorney, Robert Abrams, in 2009 suing Denver Health and Hospital Authority, which operates Denver C.A.R.E.S. Abrams says Denver Health recently settled with the student.
“We’re not opposed with Denver Health disclosing the settlement,” Abrams said.
But he said terms of the agreement prohibit him and the student from releasing any specifics.
“You could say the plaintiff is pleased with the settlement. Denver Health made no admission of liability,” Abrams said.
Abrams said two employees at the facility were fired for their treatment of the student.
In an email denying the release of information about the settlement, Martinez wrote, “All documents and information pertaining to the … agreement are confidential and cannot be released per C.R.S. 24-72-204 (1) (b).”
Editor’s Note: The student’s name no longer appears in this article.