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September 14, 2013

Judge to rule in Narconon Arrowhead case this week

McALESTER — A judge is set to rule this week if Narconon Arrowhead will have to produce documents related to incidents of drug and alcohol use by its staff, according to court documents.

A hearing is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday in Pittsburg County District Court in the lawsuit against Narconon filed on behalf of a Narconon graduate now in a vegetative state after overdosing on heroin and oxycontin.

The suit alleges drugs were given to her by Narconon staff while she was in the program.

Narconon Arrowhead is a drug rehabilitation facility in Canadian that uses Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings.

Associate District Judge James Bland is expected to preside over Wednesday’s hearing as part of pre-trial proceedings in a lawsuit filed in March 2010 on behalf of Heather Landmeier.

The suit states that after graduating from the program, Landmeier relapsed, was readmitted and then kicked out two different times for violating the rules by using drugs and alcohol.

The suit alleges those violations occurred after drugs were provided to her by Narconon staff.

The suit alleges that the day after she was removed for the last time, she overdosed in a Tulsa motel room, leaving her in a permanent vegetative state, paralyzed from the neck down.

The lawsuit seeks more than $75,000 and alleges breach of duty of care.

The suit alleges Narconon failed to act in a proper manner when it knew of Landmeier’s health conditions, failed to supervise its employees after allegedly knowing their employees had provided drugs to other residents in the past, and that the Narconon facility failed to comply with regulations of federal and Oklahoma Law.

Officials at Narconon Arrowhead did not immediately return calls seeking comment about the allegations.

The facility is where three clients were found dead within a nine-month span in 2012. A fourth died in 2009 at local hospital.

The most recent death, the July 2012 death of Stacy Murphy, 20, spurred an ongoing multi-agency investigation and several lawsuits with allegations of wrongful death. The deaths also spurred a law from Senate Bill 295, also called “Stacy’s Law,” to regulate facilities such as Narconon Arrowhead.

Other recent suits against Narconon allege credit card and insurance fraud and employees trading drugs for sex.

In March, Narconon Arrowhead’s top executive and several of his employees had their counseling certification revoked by the National Association of Forensic Counselors. In August, Narconon Arrowhead’s medical detox facility in McAlester lost its state certification after a temporary permit expired.

Meanwhile, the suit that is the subject of Wednesday’s hearing alleges Landmeier graduated from the Narconon program in  October 2005 and relapsed back into heroin addiction five months later. She was readmitted to Narconon before being kicked out again in October 2006, according to court filings.

The lawsuit alleges Landmeier’s family was called in October 2006 by Narconon Arrowhead officials and told to come pick up Landmeier because she was being forced to leave for violating rules.

On Aug. 26, 2007, Landmeier, back on drugs, was readmitted to Narconon Arrowhead for detoxification and drug rehab treatment, court documents state. The suit alleges that from the date she was readmitted until March 4, 2008, Narconon Arrowhead employees provided her drugs and alcohol.

It is also alleged she had sex with staff members, court documents state.

On March 4, 2008, while high on drugs and alcohol allegedly given to her by Narconon staff, the suit alleges Landmeier was forced to leave the facility and her family was not notified. On March 5, 2008, she overdosed in a Tulsa motel room and was left in a permanent vegetative state, paralyzed from the neck down, the lawsuit states.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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