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$11-Million Jury Verdict For Family Of Man Who Died In Rehab Facility

Davis Law Group Partners With California Firm To Obtain $11 Million Jury Verdict For Family Of Man Who Died In Narconon Rehab Facility

In 2015 when a 58-year-old man died in at Redwood Cliffs rehab clinic in Watsonville, Calf a concerned family member living in Washington State immediately reached out to attorney Chris Davis of Davis Law Group who had successfully handled a different injury claim for his mother years before.

Davis Law Group has had a long-standing partnership with the Newport Beach firm Bisnar Chase and the two firms agreed to take on the family’s wrongful death claim. The case in principal was managed in California as it was the proper jurisdiction and venue.

Almost four years later a jury awarded the surviving family members $11 million dollars.

Case Background

John Cunningham, 58 years old, married 26 years, father of two girls, retired from Boeing, was addicted to Benzodiazepines (Ativan, Xanax). John had been addicted to "Benzos" for about four years. He had been to five detox programs, but relapsed after each one.

John Cunningham entered into treatment at Narconon Redwood Cliffs in 2015 for prescription drug addiction. Neither he nor his family knew that Redwood Cliffs and later Bright Future Recovery (BFR) which were Narconon facilities which followed the treatment regimens designed in 1966 by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Under oath during her deposition, Jan Cunningham clear that she would not have paid $37,500 for her brother’s detoxification services and rehabilitation care had she known there was no real treatment plan; he would be attended to by inexperienced staff; and that there would have been minimal supervision. “I just think that Scientology is a cult,” Cunningham stated. “They don’t believe in traditional medicine. And John needed help.” Less than two months after arriving at Redwood Cliffs Cunningham was transferred to Bright Future Recovery. A week later John Cunningham was found hanging in a closet.

Wrongful Death & Negligence Case

  • Case Name: Cunningham v. Halcyon Horizons Inc., dba Narconon Redwood Cliffs and Bright Futures Recovery, Inc.
  • Court and Case Number: Santa Cruz Superior Court / 16CV02213
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, May 03, 2019
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, August 25, 2017
  • Type of Action: Negligence, Wrongful Death

The legal team argued that, “Since L. Ron Hubbard’s Narconon program is not based on evidence-based medicine, but holistic treatment, NRC staff did not have the knowledge, training, and experience to transfer John Cunningham to a detox that was appropriate for the level of care he needed—hospital level, not a brand new social model, residential non-medical detox owned by one of NRC’s 25-year-old former addicts.”

A Santa Cruz Superior Court jury agreed and awarded $11 million to Cunningham’s family.

Narcanon Scientology Lawsuit
Image: Narconon information on the Scientology website.  11/11/19.

DLG Case No: 201027​

Family of man who died in a Scientology rehab center awarded $11 million dollars after wrongful death lawsuit.

Client Review of Davis Law Group, P.S.

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Our experience with the Davis Law Group was positive from the first moment we consulted with Chris Davis. Chris Davis was attentive, thorough, and helpful throughout a very difficult time. Our paralegal was with us every step of the way with insight and compassion, always responding quickly and effectively with any questions or issues as they arose. I highly recommend the Davis Law Group.
Scott P.