Settlement Reached in Rivendell Lawsuit


Settlement Reached in Rivendell Lawsuit
Rivendell Behavioral Health Services in Benton intentionally destroyed key evidence in a lawsuit, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce found. (Amanda Cordell)

The family of a 20-year-old woman who died of a drug overdose reached an out-of-court settlement last month with Rivendell Behavioral Health Services in Benton.

As we reported, Pulaski County Circuit Mackie Pierce ruled in June that the estate of Joely Clements will win its lawsuit because Rivendell intentionally destroyed key evidence.

The finding meant the estate of Clements, who died in the Little Rock apartment of a male nurse who had treated her at Rivendell days earlier, didn’t have to prove liability against the 80-bed acute psychiatric hospital in Benton and its management company, UHS of Delaware Inc.

The estate only had to put on evidence of the damage it has suffered because of the defendants’ actions.

But before the case reached that point, it was dismissed.

The case was also dismissed against the registered nurse in whose apartment Clements died, Justin Lusby, and Rivendell’s parent company, publicly traded Universal Health Services Inc. of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. They weren’t accused of destroying evidence.

Back in 2018, Clements checked into Rivendell to treat a drug addition.

The day she was discharged, Lusby texted her and invited her to his apartment. She accepted.

Three days later, Clements was found dead in Lusby’s apartment after a fentanyl overdose.

Lusby’s attorney, Richard Holiman of Little Rock, didn’t return a call.

The estate’s lawyers were brothers Derek Potts of the Potts Law Firm of Houston and Dylan Potts of the Gill Ragon Owen law firm of Little Rock.

Dylan Potts declined to comment when contacted.

The attorney for Rivendell and UHS, Scott Provencher of the Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard law firm in Little Rock, didn’t return a call or email.