Justia Health Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Wisconsin Supreme Court
Walworth County v. M.R.M.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court denying Appellant's demand for a jury trial before Walworth County extended his involuntary commitment for twelve additional months, holding that Waukesha County v. E.J.W., 966 N.W.2d 590 (Wis. 2021), applied retroactively to Appellant's case and that the denial of Appellant's jury demand was erroneous.Following a mental health crisis, Appellant was involuntarily committed and forcibly medicated for six months. Walworth County later sought to extend Appellant's commitment for twelve months. Appellant filed a jury demand at least forty-eight hours prior to his rescheduled final hearing date, but the circuit court denied the jury demand as untimely. Thereafter, the Supreme Court decided E.J.W., which held that a jury demand is timely filed if it is filed at least forty-eight hours before a rescheduled final hearing. Appellant appealed, arguing that E.J.W. applied retroactively. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) E.J.W. applies retroactively; and (2) under the circumstances of this case, the proper remedy for the circuit court's denial of Appellant's jury demand was not remand but reversal. View "Walworth County v. M.R.M." on Justia Law
Gahl v. Aurora Health Care, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court's issuance of an injunction compelling Aurora Health Care, Inc. to administer Ivermectin to Petitioner's uncle (Patient), holding that the circuit court abused its discretion in issuing the injunction without analyzing Petitioner's reasonable probability of success on the merits.Patient was in Aurora's care when he tested positive for COVID-19. Petitioner, who held health care power of attorney for Patient, received a prescription for Ivermectin from a retired OB/GYN, but Aurora declined to effect the prescription. Thereafter, Petitioner bright a complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The circuit court issued an order compelling Aurora immediately to enforce the prescription and administer Ivermectin to Patient. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court erroneously exercised its discretion by issuing the temporary injunction without referencing any basis demonstrating that Petitioner had a reasonable probability of success on the merits of "some type of legal claim." View "Gahl v. Aurora Health Care, Inc." on Justia Law
Banuelos v. University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority
Banuelos claimed that she was unlawfully charged per-page fees for copies of her UW Hospitals medical records which were provided in an electronic format. UW Hospitals argued that section 146.83(3f) is silent as to fees for electronic copies of patient healthcare records and does not prohibit a healthcare provider from charging fees for providing such copies. Banuelos argued that because fees for electronic copies are not enumerated in the statutory list of permissible fees that a healthcare provider may charge, the fees charged here are unlawful under state law. The court of appeals agreed with Banuelos and determined that Wis. Stat. 146.83(3f) does not permit a healthcare provider to charge fees for providing copies of patient healthcare records in an electronic format.The Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed. Although section 146.83(3f) provides for the imposition of fees for copies of medical records in certain formats, it does not permit healthcare providers to charge fees for patient records in an electronic format. Although Wisconsin statutes previously permitted a charge for the provision of electronic copies of patient health care records, that language has been repealed. View "Banuelos v. University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority" on Justia Law
Becker v. Dane County
The Supreme Court affirmed the order and judgment of the circuit court in this case concerning whether local health officers may lawfully issue public health orders, holding that local health officers have statutory authority to issue orders and that no state law preempted the local health ordinance in question.At issue was Dane County Ordinance 46.40 regarding the prevention, suppression, and control of communicable diseases. Plaintiffs bought this action against the County and the Health Department and its director challenging their authority to issue and enforce such orders. The circuit court granted summary judgment against Plaintiffs' claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Wis. Stat. 252.03 grants local health officers the authority to issue public health orders; (2) the ordinance at issue, which makes such orders enforceable by civil citations, was not preempted by state law; and (3) a local health officer's authority to issue enforceable public health orders pursuant to section section 252.03 and ordinance 46.40 does not run afoul of constitutional separation of powers principles. View "Becker v. Dane County" on Justia Law
Sauk County v. S.A.M.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing as moot S.A.M.'s appeal of the order extending his voluntary commitment (recommitment) and affirmed the recommitment order, holding that the appeal of the expired recommitment order was not moot and that S.A.M.'s due process and insufficiency of the evidence claims were without merit.Sauk County successfully petitioned to have S.A.M. involuntary committed to its care for compelled treatment. Before the initial commitment order expired, the County petitioned to extend S.A.M.'s commitment. After a trial, the circuit court found grounds for a recommitment order. S.A.M. appealed, but the court of appeals dismissed the appeal because the recommitment order expired before the court could decide the merits of the appeal. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) two collateral consequences raised here rendered the appeal of the expired recommitment order not moot; but (2) on the merits, S.A.M.'s arguments were unavailing. View "Sauk County v. S.A.M." on Justia Law
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce v. Evers
The Supreme Court held that the public records law's general prohibition on pre-release judicial review of decisions to provide access to public records barred the claims brought by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and two other trade associations (WMC) seeking to stop the release of certain records.After the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel made public records requests to the Department of Health Services (DHS) for documents related to the COVID-19 pandemic WMC learned that DHS planned to respond by releasing a list of all Wisconsin businesses with more than twenty-five employees that have had at least two employees test positive for COVID-19 or that have had close case contacts. WMC brought this action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to stop the release. The circuit court granted a temporary injunction. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that WMC's complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted because its claim was barred by Wis. Stat. 19.356(1). View "Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce v. Evers" on Justia Law
Colectivo Coffee Roasters, Inc. v. Society Insurance
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court denying the motion to dismiss this complaint brought by Colectivo Coffee Roasters against Society Insurance, holding that the district court erred.Collective, which experienced substantial monetary losses as a result of the COVID-10 pandemic and related government restrictions on in-person dining, brought this class action complaint against Society seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and damages for breach of contract, alleging that Society was required to compensate it for the business income it lost during the pandemic. Society filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that none of the policy's coverage provisions applied. The circuit court denied the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Colectivo failed to state a claim for coverage under the Society policy's business income, extra expense, civil authority, or contamination provisions. View "Colectivo Coffee Roasters, Inc. v. Society Insurance" on Justia Law
State v. Green
The Supreme Court affirmed in part the decision of the court of appeals automatically staying the circuit court's order of commitment for treatment with the involuntary administration of medication after finding Defendant incompetent, holding that the automatic stay of involuntary medication orders pending appeal established in State v. Scott, 914 N.W.2d (Wis. 2018), does not apply to pretrial proceedings.Defendant was charged with first-degree intentional homicide with use of a dangerous weapon. The circuit court found Defendant incompetent and ordered him to be involuntary medicated. Defendant appealed and filed an emergency motion for stay of the involuntary medication order pending appeal. The circuit court automatically granted the motion pursuant to Scott. The court of appeals reversed the involuntary medication order and the order lifting the automatic stay of involuntary medication. The Supreme Court affirmed in part, holding (1) the automatic stay created in Scott shall not be applied during pretrial proceedings; and (2) Wis. Stat. 971.14(5)(a)1. is not subject to tolling in a pretrial context. View "State v. Green" on Justia Law
Rave v. SVA Healthcare Services, LLC
The Supreme Court dismissed this petition for review of a decision of the court of appeals affirming a circuit court order that certified a class and appointed Timothy Rave as class representative, holding that this case was moot.In the underlying action, Rave alleged that SVA Healthcare Services, LLC (SVA), a medical records vendor, improperly charged him and others similarly situated a fee for copies of medical records that exceeded the fee restrictions set forth in Wis. Stat. 146.83(3f)(b). At issue before the Supreme Court was whether the circuit court erred in granting Rave's motion for class certification. In Townsend v. ChartSwap, LL, 967 N.W.2d 21 (Wis. 2021), the Supreme Court held that fee restrictions in section 146.83(3f)(b) apply only to "health care providers" as that term is defined in Wis. Stat. 146.81(1). Following the issuance of Townsend, Rave filed a motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court granted the motion, holding that Townsend rendered this matter moot because no evidence showed that SVA met the definition of a health care provider in section 146.81(1). View "Rave v. SVA Healthcare Services, LLC" on Justia Law
Townsend v. ChartSwap, LLC
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court's dismissal of Plaintiff's claim against Defendant for unlawfully overcharging her for copies of her medical records, in violation of fee restrictions set forth in Wis. Stat. 146.83(3f), holding that the circuit court erred.On appeal, Defendant argued that the statutory fee restrictions did not apply to it because it was not a healthcare provider, as statutory defined, and because principles of agency law did not impose personal liability on it for the fees at issue. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed, holding (1) Defendant was not a healthcare provider under a plain meaning interpretation of Wis. Stat. 146.81(1) and was therefore not subject to the fee restrictions in section 146.83(3f)(b); and (2) neither common law principles nor Wis. Stat. 990.001(9) set forth that an agent is personally liable for charging more for healthcare records than statutory permitted by its principal. View "Townsend v. ChartSwap, LLC" on Justia Law