Articles Posted in New York Court of Appeals

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The three respondents in these cases had been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and other conditions, diseases, and/or disorders. The State brought Mental Hygiene Law article 10 proceedings against each respondent. Respondents argued that the Court of Appeals’ holding in State v. Donald DD warranted the dismissal of the petitions brought against them. In Donald DD, that Court held that, in a trial conducted pursuant to article 10, evidence that a respondent suffers from ASPD cannot be used to support a finding that he has a mental abnormality as defined by Mental Hygiene Law 10.03(i) “when it is not accompanied by any other diagnosis of mental abnormality.” The Court of Appeals rejected Respondents’ arguments, holding that in each of the article 10 proceedings, the evidence was sufficient to support the verdicts that Respondents suffered from a “mental abnormality” as defined in the Mental Hygiene Law. View "State v. Dennis K." on Justia Law

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Luz Herrera was injured in an accident while operating a vehicle insured by Hanover Insurance Company, a no-fault insurer. Herrera also had private health insurance through Aetna Health Plan. Herrera received medical treatment for her injuries, and the medical providers submitted some of their bills directly to Aetna, who paid the bills. Aetna subsequently sought reimbursement from Hanover, but Hanover did not respond. Meanwhile, Aetna filed a lien against Herrera for reimbursement. Herrera then resubmitted all of the medical bills to Hanover and assigned her rights against Hanover to Aetna. Aetna then commenced this action against Hanover seeking reimbursement for the medical bills it paid on Herrera’s behalf. Supreme Court dismissed the complaint, concluding (1) because Aetna was not a “health care provider” under the no-fault statute, it was not entitled to direct payment of no-fault benefits; (2) Aetna was neither in privity of contract with Hanover nor an intended third-party beneficiary of Hanover’s contract with Herrera; and (3) Aetna could not maintain a subrogation claim against Hanover. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that New York’s Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Reparations Act statutory law and regulatory scheme does not contemplate reimbursement to a health insurer, as opposed to a health care provider. View "Aetna Health Plans v. Hanover Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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While the decedent in this case was being treated in the emergency room of The New York and Presbyterian Hospital (Hospital), employees of ABC News, a division of American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (ABC), filmed the decedent’s medical treatment and death without consent. ABC later broadcast a portion of the footage as part of a documentary series about medical trauma. Plaintiffs, the decedent’s family, commenced this action against ABC, the Hospital, and the decedent’s treating physician, alleging breach of physician-patient confidentiality and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint. Supreme Court partially granted the motions. The Appellate Division modified Supreme Court’s order by reversing the portions of the order that were appealed, granted the motions in their entirety, and dismissed the entire complaint. The Court of Appeals modified the Appellate Division order to reinstate the cause of action against the Hospital and treating physician for breach of physician-patient confidentiality, holding (1) Plaintiffs stated a cause of action against these defendants for breach of physician-patient confidentiality; but (2) Defendants’ conduct was not so atrocious and intolerable as to support a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress. View "Chanko v. American Broadcasting Cos." on Justia Law

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Stephen S. was a patient who was involuntarily committed under article 9 of the Mental Hygiene Law. Because Stephen had been unlawfully held by a hospital beyond the authorized retention period Mental Hygiene Legal Service commenced this habeas corpus proceeding on behalf of Stephen seeking his immediate release from the hospital. Stephen argued that he was entitled to immediate release upon a writ of habeas corpus under N.Y. C.P.L.R. 70. Supreme Court directed the writ. The Appellate Division concluded that, despite the hospital’s failure to comply with the Mental Hygiene Law, Stephen was not entitled to immediate release because the habeas corpus petition was governed by N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law 33.15, not N.Y. C.P.L.R. 70. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that N.Y. Mental Hyg. Law 33.15 is not the exclusive habeas corpus provision available to article 9 patients and does not govern habeas corpus proceedings for those patients whose detention is challenged for reasons other than the patient’s recovery. View "People ex rel. DeLia v. Munsey" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs challenged the facial constitutionality of N.Y. Pub. Health Law 2808(5)(c), which prohibits the withdrawal or transfer of residential health care facility equity or assets in amount exceeding three percent of the facility's most recently reported annual revenue from patient care services without the prior approval of the State Commissioner of Health. Plaintiffs in this case were concerned that the challenged provision would negatively impact nursing homes. Supreme Court granted summary judgment to Plaintiffs, concluding that the statute impermissibly ceded legislative policymaking power to a regulatory agency situated in the executive branch and infringed on the substantive due process property interests of facility owners. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) the lower courts erred in concluding that the statute was offensive to substantive due process; and (2) the statute does not improperly delegate legislative policy-making power. View "Brightonian Nursing Home v. Daines" on Justia Law

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Respondent was an inmate in the custody of the State Department of Corrections and Correctional Services (DOCCS). In 2010, Respondent undertook a month-long hunger strike, contending that he had ceased eating in order to secure transfer to another DOCCS facility and to bring attention to certain claims of mistreatment. After Respondent had lost 11.6 percent of his body weight, DOCCS commenced this proceeding requesting a court order permitting medical personnel to insert a nasogastric tube and take other reasonable steps necessary to provide hydration and nutrition to Respondent. Supreme Court granted DOCCS' motion. Respondent subsequently resumed eating solid food but nevertheless appealed. The Appellate Division concluded the case was moot except for the issue of whether the State violated Respondent's rights by securing the force-feeding order. On that issue, the Appellate Division ruled in favor of DOCCS, concluding that the force-feeding order did not violate Respondent's right to refuse medical treatment. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Respondent's rights were not violated by the judicial order permitting the State to feed him by nasogastric tube after his health devolved to the point that his condition became life-threatening. View "Bezio v. Dorsey" on Justia Law

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In 2007, Plaintiff's father (Decedent) collapsed and at a health club owned and operated by Bally Total Fitness of Greater New York, Inc. (Bally). Ambulance personnel administered shocks to Decedent with an automatic external defibrillator (AED), but he never revived. Plaintiff, as executor of Decedent's estate, brought a wrongful death suit against Bally, alleging that Bally employees negligently failed to use an available AED, or failed to use it within sufficient time, to save Decedent's life. Bally primarily argued that it was immune from liability under the State's Good Samaritan Law. Supreme Court denied Bally's motion to dismiss. The Appellate Division affirmed, concluding (1) N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law 627-a imposes an affirmative duty of care upon health clubs so as to give rise to a cognizable cause of action in negligence for failure to operate an available AED; and (2) the complaint stated a cause of action based upon common law negligence. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) section 627-a does not create an affirmative duty for health clubs to use the AEDs they are required to have available; but (2) Plaintiff pleaded a viable cause of action at common law. View "Miglino v. Bally Total Fitness of Greater N.Y., Inc." on Justia Law

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The Commission is constitutionally charged with the oversight of all correctional facilities in the state. At issue was the enforceability of a subpoena deuces tecum issued by the Commission commanding Elmhurst, a health care facility operated by HHC, to produce its records respecting its care and treatment of a specified individual, who, at the time of his pre-mortem hospitalization at the Elmhurst facility, was a correctional inmate in the custody of the city. In the proceedings resulting in this appeal, the Commission's subpoena was quashed upon the ground that it sought material shielded from disclosure by the physician-patient privilege. The court held that this was error that the records sought were not properly withheld from the Commission by reason of the asserted privilege and that the subpoena should be enforced. View "Matter of New York City Health & Hosps. Corp. v New York State Commn. of Correction" on Justia Law

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Petitioners provide protection and advocacy services to individuals with developmental disabilities. After receiving a complaint regarding the discharge practices of respondent, petitioners requested access to the clinical records of all individuals residing at two respondent facilities to investigate whether they were being denied the opportunity to live in less restrictive settings. Relying on Mental Hygiene Law 45.09(b) and 33.13(c)(4), petitioners asserted that they were entitled to unrestricted access to the clinical records. Answering a certified question, the court concluded that section 45.09(b) and section 33.13(c)(4) must be read in accord with federal law and that actively-involved family members could possess sufficient decision-making authority to qualify as legal representatives under the pertinent regime. Accordingly, the order of the Appellate Division should be modified, without costs, and the case remitted to Supreme Court for further proceedings in accordance with the opinion and, as so modified, affirmed. View "Matter of Albany Law School v New York State Off. of Mental Retardation & Dev. Disabilities" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff represented psychiatrists who treated patients eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid and defendants were responsible for administering Medicaid in New York and for implementing and enforcing medicaid reimbursement rates. At issue was whether the 2006 amendment to the Social Services law found in a budget bill implementing a coinsurance enhancement for the benefit of psychiatrists who treat patients eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid was intended to be permanent or whether the amendment was intended only to provide a limited one-year enhancement. The court concluded that the Legislature only intended to provide for a one-time coinsurance enhancement, limited to the 2006-2007 fiscal year. View "New York State Psychiatric Assn., Inc. v New York State Dept. of Health" on Justia Law