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SYRACUSE — The family of a teenage girl who claims she was berated on television by Dr. Phil and then sent to a residential treatment center in Utah where she was falsely imprisoned, has filed a civil lawsuit.
Terri and David Myers, on behalf of their 15-year-old daughter, filed the complaint in federal court in Salt Lake City on Monday against the Dr. Phil Organization, Bain Capital, CRC Health Group, Aspen Educational Group, Island View Academy in Syracuse and a teacher at the academy.
In February of 2013, Terri Myer went on the "Dr. Phil" show with her daughter. In the episode, the daughter admitted to having sex with adult men she met online, which the family called "bizarre and dangerous conduct" in their lawsuit.
The family claims Dr. Phil, Phil McGraw, subjected the mother and daughter to "his brand of blunt ridicule." He offered to help the family by paying for the daughter to enroll at Island View Academy, a co-ed residential treatment center for troubled youth located in Syracuse.
The parents enrolled the girl. In their suit, they now call the facility a "private prison" and claim their daughter was placed there "for the purpose of forcing her to become obedient instead of truant by depriving her of freedom, privacy, education, and subjecting her to involuntary servitude, and unjust unusual punishments."
In one incident, the daughter apparently refused to obey staff members who told her to get off of her bed. When staff members tried to pull her off, her right arm "was badly and perhaps irreparably broken, and its main nerve severely damaged," the lawsuit states.
The family also claims their daughter's constitutional rights were violated and she was falsely imprisoned, as well as conspiracy and fraud.
However, the Vice President of the CRC Health Group, Jonathan Ciampi, released a statement regarding the situation:
"Due to HIPAA and patient confidentiality, we do not comment on specifics of any patient who has or who is being treated at our facilities, and we cannot comment on pending litigation.
"With that said, by nature, the children who we treat have varying levels of behavioral and addiction issues and we take their care seriously. Any allegation made against any of our facilities is treated as a high priority issue and we have processes in place to review each situation accordingly.
"Please know it is our policy and mission to provide a structured yet nurturing environment for the youth we serve. We deny any wrongdoing of the nature reported in the media."
Attempts to reach the "Dr. Phil" show for comments were unsuccessful.