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Violent history of patient at KC mental health center leads to $10 million lawsuit

The Center for Behavioral Medicine is the subject of a lawsuit filed by a patient who was injured in an assault. This Google Maps Street View image was taken in the area in 2007.
The Center for Behavioral Medicine is the subject of a lawsuit filed by a patient who was injured in an assault. This Google Maps Street View image was taken in the area in 2007. Google Maps

A man who was assaulted and seriously injured by another patient at a state mental health facility in Kansas City has filed a $10 million lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Daniel Garcia, alleges that staff at the Center for Behavioral Medicine were aware of other physical attacks by the same man who attacked Garcia.

Garcia was punched in the face on March 22, according to the suit.

Among his injuries were fractured facial bones, injury to one eye and injuries to his jaws and teeth.

Nathaniel Hughes, the patient who allegedly hit him, is facing a first-degree assault charge, according to Jackson County Circuit Court records.

The lawsuit documents three other violent incidents involving Hughes at the facility:

In October 2016 he allegedly punched another patient on the side of the head. On Feb. 6, 2016, he allegedly punched someone on both sides of the neck, and the next day he allegedly punched another man in the back of the neck.

Police reports were taken in all three of those prior incidents.

The lawsuit alleges that Garcia had a constitutional right to be protected from resident-on-resident violence and that facility staff failed take steps to protect him and other residents from Hughes’ “dangerous and aggressive behavior.”

The suit seeks $5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, in addition to attorney fees.

The suit was originally filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, but lawyers for the center and its employees filed notice Monday to move the case to U.S. District Court.

A spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Mental Health, which operates the facility, said Monday that the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

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