Advocates for mental patients lost a bid to get access to internal documents about patient injuries or death at state facilities in a decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy claimed in the lawsuit that Commissioner James Reinhard and others were illegally denying the agency access to records relating to the deaths or injuries of three people at mental health facilities, reports the Associated Press.
The federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the doctrine of sovereign immunity bars one state agency from suing another in federal court. The judges said the plaintiffs can seek relief in state court.