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Suit: Sane man kept in mental hospital for 2 decades

A man who says he was never mentally ill is suing doctors who kept him in a Nebraska psychiatric ward for nearly 20 years, the AP reports.

John Montin, 52, is seeking roughly $33 million in damages and lost wages, saying doctors incorrectly diagnosed him as delusional and gave him needless treatments. He was released a year ago when a regional doctor reviewed his case and said Montin had been misdiagnosed the whole time.

"It was an injustice, and he was right from the beginning," Montin's lawyer said of him. It all started in 1992, when police said Montin tried to take ownership of a house in rural Nebraska, claiming it belonged to his ancestors.

Police said there was an 11-hour standoff and a shootout, but no injuries; the story told at trial was quite different: that residents had greeted Montin at the door with shotguns, that police may have heard just one shot, and that Montin hid in a ditch overnight, the Journal Star reports.

Either way, prosecutors dropped most charges against him, jurors acquitted him of attempted murder and a weapons charge, and found him not responsible by reason of insanity for false imprisonment and use of a weapon.

Montin was then committed, and doctors presumed him delusional based on police reports rather than the court record. Then last year, a regional doctor said Montin had been delusional only before being committed due to a back medication he was taking, one he went off of before entering Lincoln Regional Center.

How did Montin finally get released? "We were just banging the drums, and they finally had to start listening," said his lawyer. (Meanwhile, some resolution for 3,500 dead and forgotten Oregon mental hospital patients.)

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