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SBC Courthouse. File photo

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed in San Benito Superior Court by the family of Los Osos resident Andrew McConnell, 49, on Aug. 11 against Bright Future Recovery, an addiction treatment center in Hollister. The suit alleges that McConnell was denied essential medical care by Bright Future as well as by their co-defendant, My Time Recovery, based in Fresno.

According to the lawsuit, McConnell checked into My Time Recovery, seeking treatment for prescription drug and alcohol withdrawal, detoxification and rehabilitation treatment. The suit alleges that he agreed to 90 days of treatment but was later told that his space in the program was needed for a “cash patient” flying in from Georgia.

McConnell was then transferred on Aug. 19, 2021 to Bright Future Recovery, which the suit alleges had a friendly relationship with My Time Recovery. Four days later, McConnell tested positive for COVID-19 and was released to his brother’s care.

According to the lawsuit, he was sent to stay at a hotel, where he would continue his treatment via Zoom, rather than to a hospital, after “exhibiting symptoms indicating that he required emergency medical care.”

On Aug. 24, 2021, the day after McConnell was released from Bright Future Recovery, he was found dead in his hotel room.

A news release quoted the family’s attorney, Arash Sadat, as saying, “Andrew was admitted to one treatment center and then immediately transferred to another one under circumstances that suggest profit over care. This pattern revealed itself again when he was clearly suffering from COVID, and they decided to send him to a hotel so they could continue billing for his treatment.”

The lawsuit accuses Bright Future Recovery of negligence in causing McConnell’s death, claiming that the agency did not monitor him, did not provide medically supervised care, and did not transfer him to a hospital when his COVID symptoms required it. It also accuses Bright Future Recovery as employing a “fast-food approach to detoxification that prioritizes profits over the health and safety of its clients.”

The suit also alleges that My Time Recovery accepted a kickback for referring McConnell to Bright Future, saying that Scottie Sample, My Time’s Founder and CEO, is “personal friends with Bright Future’s owner.”

There is no court record of a formal response from either My Time Recovery or Bright Future Recovery and the next step is a case management conference scheduled for Dec. 6.

Asked for a comment, a person identifying herself as the manager of Bright Future Recovery told BenitoLink, “We are seeking legal counsel. Everything that has been asserted is wrong.”  

In a statement to BenitoLink, Marcus Young of the Jeffrey Scott Agency, a public relations firm representing My Time Recovery, said that while treatment center was “deeply sorry for the loss of Mr. McConnell and understand the toll that takes on a family, the simple fact is we never had the opportunity to treat Mr. McConnell at our facility,” that the lawsuit is “factually challenged, and we look forward to clarifying the record during the legal proceedings.”

Bright Futures Recovery, which has facilities in Hollister and San Luis Obispo, and My Time Recovery, which has a facility in Fresno, are both certified by the Joint Commission, which provides healthcare accreditation to hospitals and care organizations in over 70 countries. Both are also licensed and certified by the California Department of Health Care Services. 

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