MALIBU—The City of Malibu is on the pursuit of suing the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and its Director Jennifer Kent. The city is seeking to revoke eight licenses that have been issued to a rehab facility known as Passages Malibu that operates in a residential neighborhood on Meadows Court in western Malibu.

The city has complained that Passages Malibu does not meet requirements of California law that states that non-medical drug and alcohol residential rehab facilities that provide for six or fewer patients may utilize in a single-family home. The city believes that the rehab facility should be licensed as an “integrated facility,” which is not allowed in a residential neighborhood.

City attorney Christi Hogin filed the following complaint on February 23:

“Passages Malibu describes itself as the “number one rehab in the world” whose “flagship drug and alcohol treatment center is in Malibu, California on a 10-acre property that features a breathtaking Pacific Ocean view, tranquil setting, and palatial estates that house [its] residential and treatment facilities.” Passages Malibu clients are “assigned” a “ten-person team of therapists and doctors,” including “psychologists, family therapists, trainers, acupuncturists, hypnotherapists, spiritual counselors and many others.”

Despite Passages Malibu’s promotion of its operations in the City of Malibu as a comprehensive, sprawling, singular rehab center, and despite evidence supporting that characterization, the California Department of Health Care Services has outright refused to regulate Passages as a consolidated facility or apply the license requirements for the 10-acre, eight unit facility. Instead, on the basis of shell LLCs and self-created unofficial street addresses, the Department issued eight separate licenses, authorizing eight separate programs each in a single-family home serving fewer than seven residents. Passages Malibu, by its own admission and advertisements, operates one integral facility.

By this lawsuit, the City of Malibu seeks to compel the Department to perform its statutory duty pursuant to Health & Safety Code §11834.01 to license Passages Malibu as an integral adult alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facility in accordance with state law.”