Woman Sues Portland Psychiatric Facility After An Alleged Attack

Portland, Ore. — A civil lawsuit has been filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court against Unity Center for Behavioral Health by the victim of an alleged violent attack that occurred on August 9, 2022. The lawsuit alleges that Ms. Sonya Gonzales was left bleeding on the ground as a result of negligent security and monitoring of patients by Unity, and suffered a concussion and severe emotional damage. The suit names Unity as the defendant.

The lawsuit claims that Ms. Gonzales was waiting for her son outside Unity when a man named Dwayne Simpson struck her in the head with a 35-pound rock. Ms. Gonzales fell and suffered a second blow when she hit her head on the wall behind her. The suit alleges that no security personnel from inside Unity came to her aid while she was lying on the ground bleeding. Simpson had been experiencing severe and violent mental health crises for at least a month leading up to the attack and had been seen at Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center and Unity prior to the attack.

Unity Center for Behavioral Health is Portland’s only psychiatric emergency facility, established in 2017 as a partnership between several local healthcare corporations. According to the suit, Unity failed to ensure its premises were safe and did not have adequate security protocols in place. Additionally, Unity allegedly failed to properly monitor and screen its patients, including Simpson, who posed a danger to himself and others.

The rise of crime and violence in Portland in recent years has been felt by many, including Ms. Gonzales. She hopes that by bringing this lawsuit, she can prevent similar attacks from happening to others. Ms. Gonzales is represented by attorney Peter Janci and the law firm Crew Janci LLP. Unity declined to comment on the pending litigation.