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Lawsuit claims NH hospital failed to care for mental patient

Union Leader Correspondent

March 01. 2013 9:35PM
Michael Williams appeared at his arraignment on felony charges in December 2011. His case was resolved through mental health court, but sparked a civil lawsuit against New Hampshire Hospital in Rockingham County Superior Court. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/FILE PHOTO)

BRENTWOOD - A couple has filed a lawsuit against New Hampshire Hospital for releasing a man who went on a rampage at a Somersworth auto shop and injured the manager after being told his car would not pass inspection.

James Silva, and his wife, Dawn, of Brentwood filed a lawsuit in Rockingham County Superior Court alleging the state hospital had a duty to ensure that a Dover man's behavior would not pose a danger to the public before releasing him.

Michael Williams was arrested by Newington police on Dec. 8, 2011, hours after he attacked James Silva, the manager at Munro Muffler in Somersworth, then went on a rampage smashing store front windows at the Fox Run Mall in Newington, according to court papers. The two incidents happened days after Williams release from New Hampshire Hospital, according to court papers.

Lawyer David Gottesman said in the lawsuit that the hospital failed to properly evaluate and assess Williams, diagnose his psychiatric condition and keep him admitted at their facility. Williams was not named as a party in the lawsuit. He was charged in Strafford and Rockingham counties by local police, but his criminal case was ultimately resolved through mental health court in Strafford County.

Williams was arrested at the muffler shop after he punched through a display case with his fist and trashed the waiting room furniture, police said. Hours later, around 4:45 p.m. Williams went into the Fox Run Mall in Newington and smashed glass windows of seven stores, setting off a panic among customers.

At Williams' arraignment in 2011, his mother apologized for her son's actions and said that he had recently attempted to check himself into a local hospital because he felt unstable. The lawsuit against the state hospital does not specify damages.

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