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John Montin lawsuit: Sane man wrongfully held in psych ward for 20 years

Man in strait jacket (Not John Montin)
Man in strait jacket (Not John Montin)
Getty Images

John Montin is a free man today after spending nearly 20 years wrongfully locked up in a state psychiatric ward in Lincoln, Nebraska. Montin is now suing doctors for malpractice because he alleges that he was never mentally ill during his time there. The Associated Press reported July 12, that John Maxwell Montin, 52, filed the lawsuit Friday in federal court, naming 21 former or current Lincoln Regional Center doctors, a program manager and two nurses.

According to the report, Montin had been arrested in 1992 after he walked up to a Nebraska home and said that he was taking it back because it belonged to his ancestors. An 11-hour stand-off ended with shots fired, and Montin was arrested for attempted murder and a slew of other charges.

Prosecutors ended up dropping most of the charges against Montin and jurors acquitted him of attempted murder and a weapons charge. He was found not responsible by reason of insanity for false imprisonment and use of a weapon. Montin was then committed to the psych ward because doctors presumed him to be mentally insane based on police reports rather than the court record.

However, a regional doctor said last year that Montin had been delusional only before being committed due to a back medication he was taking, one he went off of before entering Lincoln Regional Center.

Upon this clarification, Montin was released after the regional center doctor acknowledged he'd been misdiagnosed from the beginning.

Montin is seeking more than $22 million in damages for incorrectly labeling him mentally ill, and unnecessarily holding him and subjecting him to treatments he didn't need; $760,000 in lost wages; and $10 million in punitive damages.

Lincoln attorney Jon Braaten called the case an "injustice," and he said Montin was right from the beginning." What's your opinon on the John Montin lawsuit? Should the mental hospital pay up?

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