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The Star Tribune
By ROCHELLE OLSON, Star Tribune
Last update: May 16, 2008 – 11:31 PM
The former DFL golden boy says he was improperly prescribed an antidepressant for his bipolar disorder. He’s serving time in Rochester for theft and forgery.
Imprisoned DFL political operative Patrick Forciea has filed two lawsuits, one against his former psychotherapist for what he claims was misdiagnosis and improper treatment of his bipolar disorder.
And in a second Hennepin County District Court lawsuit seeking $168,000 in disability benefits from his insurer, Forciea blames the disorder for his incarceration.
Forciea was once a golden boy of Minnesota sports marketing and politics. He played a prominent role in the improbable election of U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone in 1990. Forciea fell hard in 2004, when he pleaded guilty to an 18-month spree of theft and forgery.
In November 2004, a federal judge sentenced him to eight years in federal prison and ordered him to repay $5 million to 10 victims of his scams.
Now Forciea is suing Dianne Lockman of Minneapolis, claiming during treatment from 2001 to 2004 she prescribed Wellbutrin to him, a drug he said should not be prescribed for people with bi-polar disorder. He also named Blackmore & Associates, the practice in which she was a partner.
At the time, Forciea “suffered severe mood swings with deep depressive periods punctuated by crazy intense work cycles where [he] could work for days with only a few hours of sleep,” the complaint said. Forciea is acting as his own lawyer. His symptoms were a “textbook” example of bipolar disorder, he wrote.
He is seeking unspecified damages in excess of $50,000. He claims that Lockman failed to exercise “ordinary and reasonable care” when she failed to properly diagnose him.
He notes that he has been receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester for male criminals and the Mayo Clinic, where physicians have confirmed his bipolar disorder and told him that Wellbutrin, generally given to treat depression, is not an acceptable treatment.
In a photocopy of a page from the Physicians’ Desk Reference attached to his lawsuit, one precaution notes that Wellbutrin can cause manic episodes in those with bipolar disorder.
Forciea also is suing Fortis Benefits Insurance Co., claiming the insurer breached a contract with him for disability insurance. He claims his “incarceration was a result of his acute bipolar mental illness.” He acknowledges the disability contract explicitly states no benefits will be paid when someone is in prison.
But he argues that the exclusion shouldn’t apply to him because he was mistreated for his illness through the prescription of Wellbutrin. Forciea said his medical condition is the cause of his incarceration.
The $504 check for his lawsuits was written and signed Thursday by Rick Kahn, a Wellstone confidante who gave a divisive, partisan speech at the senator’s 2002 memorial service.
Calls to Lockman, Fortis and Kahn were not returned Friday.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747