Judge denies temporary shutdown request of rehab homes [corrected]

An Orange County Superior Court judge denied a request Thursday to temporarily shut down an alcohol and drug rehabilitation company that operates recovery homes in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.

A hearing to permanently bar Morningside Recovery from providing treatment at its seven unlicensed homes is expected to take place in October.

This story has been edited to correct what the October hearing is for.

Judge William Monroe rejected the filing by the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, or ADP, for a temporary restraining order against two Costa Mesa and five Newport Beach Morningside group home facilities. The judge also denied a request to prevent the company from taking on new clients.

"I'm really happy with [the decision]," said Morningside Chief Executive Mary Helen Beatificato. "Really, the decision is giving Morningside a fair shake and looking at the law."

The ADP went to court to temporarily stop Morningside until the hearing on permanently stopping the company from providing services at its seven unlicensed homes could go forward, said ADP spokeswoman Suzi Rupp.

"We're still moving forward with the permanent injunction," she said.

Morningside is accused of providing licensable services through its outpatient facilities to clients living in its group homes, which are not licensed, Rupp said.

The ADP is taking separate legal action to permanently revoke Morningside’s licenses for its three licensed residential treatment facilities. The hearing was held in May and the court ruling is expected in August.

Beatificato called the ADP's attempt political, just like the other challenges her company is facing.

Morningside is facing several legal tests, including a wrongful-death suit and an ongoing battle with the city of Newport Beach, which revoked its agreement with Morningside over numerous violations to its contract. The courts upheld the city's action.

Morningside contends it didn't violate the agreement and took action to correct any problems.

The recovery center is also facing off with an activist group, Maintaining Our Residential Neighborhoods, or MORN, which argues Morningside's Lido Isle group home doesn't belong in that neighborhood.

With the courts backing Morningside on Thursday, Beatificato said she is looking forward to getting the other issues resolved and focusing on improving the quality of the care for her clients.


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