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The Court of Appeals held that N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law 33.13, which protects the confidentiality of the clinical records of patients and clients as maintained by facilities licensed or operated by the Office of Mental Health or the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, does not require automatic sealing of the entire court record of all proceedings involving insanity acquittees who have dangerous mental disorders within the meaning of N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law (CPL) 330.20. Defendant, an insanity acquittee, was found to have a dangerous mental disorder as defined by CPL 330.20(1)(c) and was committed to the custody of the Commissioner for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. Supreme Court denied Defendant’s motion to seal the entire court record in his case, finding that the documents related to the legal proceedings rather than Defendant’s treatment. The Appellate Division modified. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the legislature provided no automatic sealing requirement of an entire court record in either CPL 330.20 or the Mental Hygiene Law for an insanity acquittee, and Defendant cited no authority for such an obligation. View "In re James Q." on Justia Law

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A 2014 statute and 2013 regulation re-defined which abortions qualified as “medically necessary” for the purposes of Medicaid funding. The statute defined medically necessary abortions as those that “must be performed to avoid a threat of serious risk to the life or physical health of a woman from continuation of the woman’s pregnancy” as a result of a number of listed medical conditions; the regulation was similarly restrictive. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest challenged both the statute and regulation as unconstitutional, and the superior court held that both measures violated the equal protection clause of the Alaska Constitution. The court reasoned that these measures imposed a “high-risk, high- hazard” standard on abortion funding unique among Medicaid services, and held that our 2001 decision striking down an earlier abortion funding restriction on equal protection grounds compelled the same result. The State appealed, arguing that the statute and regulation should be interpreted more leniently and therefore do not violate the Alaska Constitution’s equal protection clause. The Alaska Supreme Court affirmed the superior court’s decision: the statute’s and the regulation’s facially different treatment of pregnant women based upon their exercise of reproductive choice required the Court to apply strict scrutiny, and the proposed justifications for the funding restrictions "did not withstand such exacting examination." View "Alaska v. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals reversed the order of the Appellate Division and dismissed this petition and proceeding, holding that Mental Hygiene Legal Service (MHLS) did not have standing to bring this proceeding in its own name to vindicate its clients’ rights under N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law 9.31(b). MHLS, a government entity charged with providing legal services to patients of mental health facilities and hospitals, brought this proceeding in its own name seeking a writ of mandamus to compel a hospital to comply with section 9.31(b), which sets forth the procedure to be followed after a patient requests an admission or retention hearing. The hospital moved to dismiss the petition on the ground the MHLS lacked standing to bring the claim in its own name. Supreme Court denied the hospital’s motion to dismiss and granted the petition, concluding that MHLS had demonstrated a right to mandamus relief. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed and dismissing both the petition and the proceeding, holding that MHLS did not have standing to bring this petition. View "Mental Hygiene Legal Service v. Daniels" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals held that assigned Mental Hygiene Legal Services (MHLS) counsel is not entitled to be given an interview and an opportunity to participate in treatment planning meetings for article 10 respondents placed in a sex offender treatment program at a secure treatment facility simply by virtue of an attorney-client relationship with the article 10 respondent. Petitioners - an article 10 respondent called D.J. and his assigned MHLS counsel - requested that counsel be permitted to attend D.J.’s treatment planning meetings either as an “authorized representative” or a “significant individual” under N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law 29.13(b). The requests were denied, after which Petitioners commenced this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding. Supreme Court dismissed the petition, and the Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that MHLS counsel was not intended to be included, as a matter of law, within the terms “authorized representative” or “significant individual.” View "Mental Hygiene Legal Service v. Sullivan" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the probate court denying the petition filed by Michael Zani and Peter Zani to be appointed co-guardians of Patricia S., their mother and an incapacitated adult, and instead appointing Karin Beaster and Nancy Carter as co-guardians, holding that Beaster and Carter had not fulfilled the pretrial filing requirements of Me. Rev. Stat. 18-A, 5-303(a). The probate court appointed Beaster and Carter as co-guardians of Patricia even though Beaster and Carter had not filed petitions to be appointed. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment, holding that the superior court erred by appointing Beaster and Carter when they had not complied with the requirements applicable to a guardianship petition under section 5-303(a). View "In re Patricia S." on Justia Law

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Reed alleged that she suffered discrimination on the basis of her disabilities while she was a patient at Columbia in March 2012. She contends that the hospital failed to accommodate her disabilities by deliberately withholding from her a device she used to speak and discriminated against her by putting her in a “seclusion” room to punish her, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12181, the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 794, and the Wisconsin Mental Health Act. The district court granted the hospital summary judgment, holding that the hospital did not need to comply with Title III of the ADA because it fell within the Act’s exemption for entities controlled by religious organizations and that the hospital’s alleged mistreatment of Reed was not premised solely on Reed’s disability. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The hospital raised its religious exemption affirmative defense to the ADA claims for the first time after discovery, in its motion for summary judgment; it was an abuse of discretion to excuse the hospital’s failure to raise this affirmative defense earlier. Reed’s Rehabilitation Act claims depend on disputed facts. View "Reed v. Columbia St. Mary's Hospital" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a municipal court judge civilly committing M.C. for a period of two months, holding that the record contained sufficient evidence to support M.C.’s involuntary commitment and that M.C. was not denied due process of law despite the hearing being conducted at a hospital rather than at a court house and in the absence of a complete, verbatim transcript. Although M.C. sought to have the civil commitment hearing conducted at a court house, the hearing was held at the psychiatric facility where M.C. had been temporarily committed. At the beginning of the proceeding the court-owned recording equipment malfunctioned, and then two different alternate recording devices were used to record the remainder of the hearing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judge’s decision to civilly commit M.C., holding that the available transcript provided an adequate basis for appellate review and contained sufficient evidence to support M.C.’s involuntary commitment. View "In re M.C." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff worked as an anesthesiologist at the hospital, beginning in 1991. In 2011, the California Department of Public Health conducted an unannounced “medication error reduction plan” survey at the hospital, found that Plaintiff was responsible for numerous deficiencies regarding the use of the drug droperidol and that the deficiencies “placed patients at risk for undue adverse medical consequences,” and declared that the hospital was in “immediate jeopardy.” The medical group that is responsible for providing the hospital with physicians agreed to remove Plaintiff from the anesthesia schedule pending further investigation. Plaintiff went through required remediation, returned to work, and continued to improperly use the drug. The practice group terminated his “staff privileges, membership, or employment” with the hospital “based on a medical disciplinary cause or reason” without giving prior notice and a hearing under Business and Professions Code section 809. The trial court awarded Plaintiff damages. The court of appeal affirmed. A hospital may not avoid its obligation to provide notice and a hearing before terminating a doctor’s ability to practice in the hospital for jeopardizing the quality of patient care, by directing the medical group employing the doctor to refuse to assign the doctor to the hospital View "Economy v. Sutter East Bay Hospitals" on Justia Law

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Edward and Pattie Hyde brought a medical-negligence case based on loss of chance. Their theory was that the treating physician’s and hospital’s failure to properly test for and timely diagnose Edward’s stroke resulted in his not receiving treatment, namely, an injection of Tissue Plasminogen Activator, (tPA) which they claimed would have led to a better stroke recovery. The trial court dismissed the claim, and the Hydes appealed, asking the Mississippi Supreme Court to abandon long-standing precedent on loss-of-chance. They argued under Mississippi law, they could recover for the "reduced likelihood of a recovery." The Supreme Court was clear “that Mississippi law does not permit recovery of damages because of mere diminishment of the ‘chance of recovery.’” However, the trial court erred in dismissing the Hydes' claim on summary judgment: the Hydes presented expert medical testimony that the majority of stroke patients who timely receive tPA experience substantial improvement. Because their expert supported his opinion with medical literature, the trial judge abused his discretion by excluding this testimony. The Hydes’ expert testimony created a material fact dispute over whether they could recover for loss-of-chance. The Court therefore reversed summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "Hyde v. Martin" on Justia Law

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Christopher Floeting alleged a Group Health Cooperative employee repeatedly sexually harassed him while he was seeking medical treatment. He sued Group Health for the unwelcome and offensive sexual conduct under the Washington Law Against Discrimination, which made it unlawful for any person or the person's agency or employee to commit an act of discrimination in any place of public accommodation. The trial court dismissed on summary judgment, pursuant to Group Health's argument the employment discrimination standard applied. The Court of Appeals reversed. Group Health argued the Washington Supreme Court should import workplace sexual harassment doctrines into the public accommodations context, thereby limiting its employer liability. Declining to do so, the Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court. View "Floeting v. Grp. Health Coop." on Justia Law