- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah judge is dismissing a lawsuit from a New York woman who says her daughter was mistreated at a wilderness therapy camp, but the family’s attorney says he’ll continue the legal fight.

Attorney Thomas Burton contends the mother of the girl, then 16, sent her to the southern Utah camp in 2008 to protect her from an adult man she was communicating with online. But instead treating her needs, Burton said, leaders housed with more dangerous teens and subjected her to mindless rules and rude treatment.

The camp, RedCliff, argued the lawsuit should be dismissed. It’s more than 2 years old, past the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims under Utah law.

But Burton said Enterprise-based RedCliff shouldn’t be considered a medical facility.

“This is a health care provider like someone who dumps someone off at a hospital,” he said.

Federal Judge Tena Campbell sided with RedCliff on Wednesday, but she said she’ll consider new arguments if Burton files the lawsuit again within a month.

The suit claims the girl was traumatized by the experience and still has nightmares.

“These kids are locked up, and they can’t leave,” said Burton. “What we’re saying is, ‘Parents, check things out. Know what you’re paying for.’”

Burton is also suing Iron County, which he says violated the girl’s civil rights when it convicted her of assault charges without informing her or her mother that they’d been filed.

The misdemeanor charges came after the teen threw a canteen that injured a counselor, Burton said. That part of the case is ongoing. An attorney for the county declined to comment Wednesday.

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