Opinion: Alexander Morris, member of the Motown group The Four Tops, files lawsuit against Hospital ER for use of “straightjacket”

By on June 11, 2024

In a move that echoes the turbulent social dynamics of our times, Alexander Morris, member of the legendary Motown group The Four Tops, has filed a lawsuit against Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, Michigan. The case, which has grabbed headlines, alleges a series of grave accusations including racial discrimination, negligence, battery, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Civil Rights Act of 1964.

File Photo: Lawrence Payton (left), Alexander Morris, Lewis (Ronnie) McNeir, and Abdul “Duke” Fakir of The Four Tops perform at the All In Festival in Indianapolis, 2022. (Copyright 2022 Larry Philpot,/ Soundstage Photography.com)

Morris’s ordeal began in April 2023 when he sought emergency treatment for chest pain and difficulty breathing. According to the lawsuit, the situation took a distressing turn when hospital staff allegedly removed him from oxygen, placed him in a restraining jacket, and subjected him to a psych evaluation after he expressed security concerns related to his celebrity status. The lawsuit paints a picture of a patient denied basic care and dignity, culminating in a diagnosis of a heart infarction (which is a heart attack due to lack of blood and oxygen to part of the heart muscle) and pneumonia, along with suffering three seizures while under the hospital’s care.

File Photo: Alexander Morris of The Four Tops perform at the All In Festival in Indianapolis, 2022. (Copyright 2022 Larry Philpot,/ Soundstage Photography.com)

The narrative that unfolds is one of disbelief and bias, where Morris claims that his identity as a celebrity was met with skepticism, leading to an assumption of mental illness and subsequent mistreatment. The lawsuit specifically names two staff members, a nurse and a security guard, accusing them of denying treatment and making racially charged remarks.

This legal battle is not just about the mistreatment of one individual; it’s a reflection of broader societal issues. It brings to the forefront the ongoing conversation about racial profiling and discrimination within institutions meant to serve and protect. Morris’s experience, as detailed in the lawsuit, challenges the integrity of the healthcare system and its treatment of individuals of color and those with celebrity status.

The response from Ascension has been one of silence on the specifics, citing the pending litigation, but a reaffirmation of their commitment to “honoring human dignity and acting with integrity and compassion for all persons and the community” and a denial of any form of racial discrimination.

The case of Alexander Morris vs. Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital is set to be a landmark one, with Morris seeking a jury trial and $75,000 in damages.