Acadia Healthcare Co. Inc. (Nasdaq: ACHC) faces an enormous jury award in a civil case involving the sexual abuse of a child.
On July 7, a jury in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, awarded the child, known only as G.S., and her guardians $485 million in damages. Acadia Healthcare and its affiliate, the now-defunct Youth and Family Centered Services of New Mexico, were ordered to pay $405 million in compensatory and punitive damages, according to a copy of the jury’s verdict obtained by Behavioral Health Business.
Specifically, the court ordered Acadia to pay $80 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages, and for its subsidiary Youth and Family Centered Services to pay $75 million in punitive damages.
The civil proceedings paralleled criminal proceedings on the same matter, which alleged that a foster parent affiliated with Youth and Family Centered Services of New Mexico raped the child, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Acadia Healthcare was the parent organization of Youth and Family Centered Services. The latter handled the day-to-day management of New Mexico-based FamilyWorks’ programming, according to an SEC filing from Acadia.
Acadia Healthcare has had five lawsuits, including this one, filed against it regarding the work of Youth and Family Centered Services and its engagement with FamilyWorks. The company has settled two of the cases. The other two cases are pending.
“The Company can make no assurances regarding the ultimate outcome of the damages awarded on July 7, 2023, or the ultimate outcome of the other two pending cases,” the filing states. “The final resolution of these three cases may have an adverse impact on the Company.”
A spokesperson for the company said it intends to challenge the verdict.
“What this abuser did was horrible,” the spokesperson said. “The victim was not in the direct care of [Youth and Family Centered Services] or any facility operated by Acadia, but was in a treatment foster care program managed by FamilyWorks.”
Acadia Healthcare closed the facility operated by Youth and Family Centered Services in April 2019 amid this and other abuse allegations, according to the Nashville Post.
In recent months, Acadia Healthcare has doubled down on establishing new psychiatric hospitals and hospital units, especially via joint ventures with other hospital organizations as divestment in such care units has led to a bed crisis for the most acute levels of mental health care.