The $ 100 nominal payout proposal and rationale behind it for some of the patients forced to take high doses of medication and undergo experimental treatment are “perverse, obscene, and obviously unfair given your results,” the patient’s attorney said the Ontario Superior Court in closing remarks Friday.
“To propose $ 100 for someone who has been treated this way, a young man, with what happened is completely inappropriate and completely wrong,” said Peter Jervis, who represents 28 patients previously determined by the court had that they were subjected to at most one treatment regimen. Safety Oak Ridge Division of Penetanguishene Mental Health Center, now called the Waypoint Center for Mental Health Care.
Last June, Judge Edward M. Morgan of the Ontario Supreme Court ruled that two psychiatrists and the Provincial Crown were responsible for the use of pain as an instrument between 1966 and 1983. He noted that they administered high doses of hallucinogens and mind-altering drugs, including LSD and alcohol, as the cornerstone of a program they termed Defense Disorder Therapy, or DDT.
In a self-contained unit housed in Oak Ridge called the Social Therapy Unit (STU), patients are locked in a “capsule” for extended periods of group meetings. Some were strapped naked to other patients.
Another program used too strict a disciplinary regime.
Attorney Sam Rogers, the Dr. Elliot Thompson Barker and Dr. Representing Gary J. Maier, at the end of the three-week damages hearing, the court should not award the $ 71 million to $ 75 million attorney that lawyers say patients are eligible.
Even the most terrible cases of sexual abuse caused only a fraction of that damage, Rogers said.
“We’re really talking about the most terrible cases of sexual abuse you can imagine,” he said, adding that the overall damage was $ 400,000, “about 60 percent of what the plaintiffs for Mr. (Reginald) Barker and in some cases 10 percent of what they are looking for some of their clients.
“For some of the plaintiffs they are seeking general damages in excess of $ 4 million, ten times the general damages awarded last year for one of the worst cases of underage sexual abuse, a five-year-old, in Canadian history.” Said Rogers.
Barker, who died last April at the Providence Care Center in Kingston, showed sexual aggression and reported in a psychological investigation that he tried to rape a 77-year-old woman with the tip of a knife. While in Don Jail, he reported hearing voices calling for his murder.
On February 20, 1968, Barker killed a woman at work and was sent to Oak Ridge the following month on the orders of the Lieutenant Governor, where he spent 10 years. He took part in the experimental treatments with LSD sessions and was laid naked with other patients on a rubber floor in an enclosed space they called a capsule.
Oak Ridge patient attorneys are asking the court to award Barker general damages of $ 750,000.
On behalf of the doctors, Rogers said the law does not currently distinguish between mental and physical harm.
“If you become completely disabled due to psychiatric damage, you are entitled to as much damage as someone with total physical disability. The difference is that these plaintiffs did not become completely disabled due to psychiatric harm. None of these plaintiffs did, ”Rogers told the court.
Complete disability, he said, would refer to someone who relies completely on others in their activities for their daily life. In the case of mental impairments, this can lead to brain damage.
“You can become completely disabled from psychiatric damage,” he said. “That did not happen to the plaintiffs in this case. They suffered from severe psychological consequences such as PTSD, anxiety and fear of therapists. “
And while what happened to the Oak Ridge patients was harmful, it prevented none of them from going or going to the bathroom, and they didn’t need 24-hour care.
He pointed to a recent case confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in which the plaintiff suffered “serious psychological damage” and received US $ 100,000.
He added that there is no case that comes close to the $ 28.8 million punitive damages sought by the Oak Ridge patients, in addition to loss of income due to the experience as well as damages.
In addition, the doctors received no benefit from running the programs other than publishing publications that glorified the programs they developed.
The judge said he would keep his decision on damages and did not say when he would make his decision.