Four Tops singer Alexander Morris sues hospital, says staff placed him in restraints

Alexander Morris

WARREN, Mich. — The lead singer of the Four Tops filed a federal lawsuit on Monday, alleging that the staff of a Michigan hospital placed him in restraints and ordered a psychological exam because they did not believe he was part of the storied Motown group.

Alexander Morris, 53, who joined the Four Tops in 2019, filed the lawsuit against Ascension Macomb-Oakland hospital in Michigan, The Detroit News reported. Morris, who is Black, accused the hospital of racial discrimination and two employees of negligence for an incident that occurred on April 7, 2023, according to The New York Times.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, according to the newspaper.

Morris, who was taken to the hospital after experiencing chest pains and had difficulty breathing, alleged that while being checked in, he told a nurse and a guard that he had security concerns because he had been stalked in the past because of his celebrity, The Orange County Register reported.

According to the lawsuit, the hospital staff “wrongfully assumed he was mentally ill” and a guard was instructed to place Morris in restraints, according to the News.

The complaint stated that when Morris offered to show his identification card, the security guard, who is white, allegedly told the singer to “sit his Black (expletive) down,” the Times reported.

Morris’ attorneys, Maurice Davis and Jasmine Rand, asked U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood for a jury trial and more than $75,000 in damages, according to the News.

The lawsuit also alleged that Morris told staff members that he was having trouble breathing and requested the use of an oxygen tank, but that he was ignored, the newspaper reported.

“Instead, (Morris) received a deliberate misdiagnosis and received a lower standard of medical care based on his race that amounted to racial discrimination and delayed his actual diagnosis,” his attorneys wrote in the complaint.

Morris’ wife, who arrived at the hospital later, attempted to convince staff members that her husband was a member of the group, USA Today reported. According to the lawsuit, they did not believe her until she showed a nurse a video of Morris performing at the Grammy Awards.

The nurse informed the doctors and the evaluation was canceled, according to the newspaper.

The nonprofit health system that oversees the hospital, Ascension, released a statement in which it declined to comment on the pending litigation but said, “We do not condone racial discrimination of any kind.”

“The health, safety and well-being of our patients, associates and community members remains our top priority,” a hospital spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday. “We remain committed to honoring human dignity and acting with integrity and compassion for all persons and the community.”

The Four Tops group was formed during the 1950s and had hits such as “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)″ “Reach Out I’ll Be There” and “It’s The Same Old Song.” The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

The group’s lone surviving member, Abdul Fakir, invited Morris to join the group and he has been performing with them since 2019, the Times reported.

Morris detailed his allegations last year during a news conference at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple.

“In February, I was performing at (the Grammys at an event) honoring Barry Gordy and Smokey Robinson,” Morris said, according to the News. “Two months later, I’m in a (straitjacket) in the city I grew up in, my identity being denied and I’m being told that I’m insane or schizophrenic.”

In the court filing on Monday, Morris said that after the incident the hospital offered him a $25 gift card to a supermarket, which he refused to accept, the Times reported.

“The hospital denied my identity and my basic human dignity and then offered me a gift card,” Morris said in a statement provided by his lawyers, according to the newspaper.

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