WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) - A private, for-profit mental hospital defamed an attorney by impersonating him on the Internet and accusing him of supporting "pedophile rapists" after he truthfully accused it of abusing patients, the lawyer claims in Westchester County Court.
Glenn Feinberg claims the state Office of Mental Health office fined SLS Residential $110,000 for numerous violations, including illegally restraining and medicating patients against their will, depriving patients of the right to their own clothing and money, and preventing them from communicating with the outside world or leaving the facility.
Feinberg, a partner with Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, says he began picketing SLS in 2006 and blogging about the hospital's mistreatment of patients.
When the institution came under fire for its conduct, Feinberg says, he became the target of a smear campaign.
He says the hospital revealed "confidential mental health information concerning SLS' treatment of Feinberg's family member." Feinberg says the postings appeared on Friends of SLS, a Web site run by the hospital's consultant, co-defendant Marketing Department of America.
Feinberg says SLS also threatened to disclose the psychiatric histories of any patients who participated in a 2007 class action lawsuit. He says a federal judge called SLS "devoid of moral compass" for making the threats.
Comments falsely attributed to Feinberg began appearing on the Internet in 2008, Feinberg says, and videos appeared on YouTube that call him a "saviour to pedophiles" and a "slime ball who should be disbarred."
Some of the posting suggest that Feinberg tampers with evidence to help guilty pedophiles evade prosecution, according to the complaint.
He says Verizon traced the postings to a computer belonging to Charles Bindert, president of Spontaneous Development; he sued both of them.
Feinberg says Andrew Rath, principal of A. Rath Productions, prepared the videos; Rath and his company also are named as defendants.
Feinberg claims SLS faces charges of wrongful death, falsifying records and falsifying testimony. After failing to prevent a patient from murdering and decapitating a woman, SLS concealed that the murderer was a patient at the time, according to the complaint.
Feinberg seeks punitive damages and an injunction. He is represented by Geraldine Cheverko with Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott.
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