U.S. Navy veteran and retired police officer Donald Montgomery is suing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other officials after his firearms were reportedly confiscated by police after he sought treatment for insomnia.
It all started after Montgomery visited his primary care physician on May 6 and complained about trouble sleeping, the Daily Caller reported. He claimed to have been suffering from insomnia since moving from a different state. Montgomery then returned to the hospital again days later for the same problems, except this time he was diagnosed with “Depression; Insomnia” by hospital staff.
On May 23, Montgomery returned to the hospital yet again with the same symptoms. He reportedly stayed at the hospital for 48 hours voluntarily for treatment.
In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York earlier this month, Montgomery alleges that his visit was wrongly recorded as an involuntary stay.
Under New York’s SAFE Act, mental health professionals are required to report patients who are determined to be threats to themselves or others. Regardless, the lawsuit claims the veteran was cleared.
“Patient has no thoughts of hurting himself. Patient has no thoughts of hurting others. Patient is not having suicidal thoughts. Patient is not having homicidal thoughts,” the hospital notes from the visit allegedly said.
Montgomery was said to be “mildly depressed” by hospital officials, but they found “no evidence of any psychotic processes, mania, or OCD symptoms.” The notes also asserted, “Insight, judgment, and impulse control are good.”
Still, Montgomery’s records were forwarded to Mental Hygiene Legal Service for further review.
The Daily Caller outlines what happened next:
Four days after leaving the hospital, New York State police sent a letter to the Suffolk County clerk’s office stating “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution” and that he was prohibited from possessing any firearms.
The next day, Montgomery received a call from an officer at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department informing him that his guns would have to be confiscated.
Montgomery says that on May 30, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department showed up to his house and confiscated his pistol license and four handguns — Colt .38 revolver, Derringer .38, Glock 26 9mm, Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380.
Montgomery claims in his lawsuit that officials violated his constitutional rights during the ordeal. He also accuses the hospital of violating his privacy by giving his medical records to state police.
Montgomery is seeking monetary damages, legal fees, and the “striking down and rendering void” of New York’s “Mental Hygiene Law” on grounds that it represents an “unconstitutional violation of the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Read the full lawsuit below: