Justia Health Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Wisconsin Supreme Court
St. Ambrose Academy, Inc. v. Parisi
The Supreme Court vacated the portions of the emergency order issued by Janel Heinrich, in her capacity as a local health officer of Public Health of Madison and Dane County, restricting or prohibiting in-person instruction in all schools in Dane County for grades 3-12, holding that those portions were unlawful and unenforceable and are hereby vacated.The disputed order was issued in an effort to decrease the spread of COVID-19. Petitioners - students - brought three cases challenging Heinrich's authority to issue the emergency order, contending that the order exceeded her statutory authority under Minn. Stat. 252.03, violated Petitioners' fundamental right to the free exercise of religioun under Wis. Const. art. I, 18, and violated parents' fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children under Wis. Const. art. I, 1. The Supreme Court consolidated the cases and held (1) local health officers do not have the statutory power to close schools under section 252.03; and (2) the order infringed Petitioners' fundamental right to the free exercise of religion guaranteed in the Wisconsin Constitution. View "St. Ambrose Academy, Inc. v. Parisi" on Justia Law
Tavern League of Wisconsin, Inc. v. Palm
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the circuit court denying The Mix Up's motion for temporary injunctive relief challenging Emergency Order 3 issued by the Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee, Andrea Palm, holding that the order met the definition of a rule and should have been promulgated according to statutory rulemaking procedures.Emergency Order 3 was issued as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and limited the size of indoor public gatherings. Plaintiffs initiated this lawsuit, alleging that the order was a rule and that DHS did not undertake proper rulemaking procedures. The circuit court granted Plaintiffs' motion for an ex parte temporary injunction. The Mix Up was granted intervention and moved for a temporary injunction. The circuit court vacated the ex part order denying The Mix Up's motion for temporary injunctive relief. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the order was invalid and unenforceable as a matter of law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Emergency Order 3 met the definition of a rule, and therefore, the order should have been promulgated according to rule making procedures set forth in Wis. Stat. ch. 227; and (2) therefore, Emergency Order 3 was not validly enacted and was unenforceable. View "Tavern League of Wisconsin, Inc. v. Palm" on Justia Law
Waupaca County v. K.E.K.
The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's order extending K.E.K.'s involuntary commitment pursuant to Wis. Stat. 51.20(13)(g)3., holding that Wis. Stat. 51.20(1)(am), the statute upon which Waupaca County relied on to prove K.E.K.'s dangerous, is facially constitutional and that K.E.K.'s as-applied constitutional challenges failed.K.E.K. challenged the commitment extension on appeal, arguing that section 51.20(1)(am) was both facially unconstitutional and unconstitutional as applied because it does not require a sufficient showing of current dangerousness, as exhibited by recent acts of dangerousness. The court of appeals denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statute is facially constitutional and that K.E.K.'s as-applied constitutional challenges, which the Court noted were disguised sufficiency of the evidence challenges, also failed. View "Waupaca County v. K.E.K." on Justia Law
Papa v. Wisconsin Department of Health Services
In this case requiring the Supreme Court to determine the scope of the authority of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to recoup payments made to Medicaid service providers the Supreme Court held that DHS does not have the authority to enforce its recoupment policy.Plaintiffs, Kathleen Papa and Professional Homecare Providers, Inc. (collectively, PHP), challenged DHS's recoupment policy as it had been enforced against PHP nurses to recover payments made for services they provided to Medicaid patients. PHP claimed that DHS recoups payments nurses earned and received for their Medicaid services because the nurses' supporting records contained documentation shortcomings. The Supreme Court held (1) DHS may recoup Medicaid payments from service providers only in cases where DHS cannot verify certain facts; and (2) DHS's recoupment policy exceeds its authority. View "Papa v. Wisconsin Department of Health Services" on Justia Law
Wisconsin Legislature v. Palm
The Supreme Court held that Andrea Palm's order confining all people to their homes, forbidding travel, and closing businesses in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus (Emergency Order 28) was unenforceable because the order was a rule, and Palm did not follow statutory emergency rule making procedures established by the Legislature.On March 12, 2020, Governor Tony Evers issued Executive Order 72 proclaiming that a public health emergency existed in Wisconsin and directed DHS to take "all necessary and appropriate measures" to prevent incidents of COVID-19 in the State. On March 24, Palm, as secretary-designee of the Department of Health Services, issued Emergency Order 12 ordering Wisconsin citizens to stay at home. On April 16, Palm issued Emergency Order 28 ordering individuals to stay at home or risk punishment. The Wisconsin Legislature brought an emergency petition for original action asserting that Palm failed to follow emergency rulemaking procedures required under Wis. Stat. 227.24. The Supreme Court held (1) Emergency Order 28 is a "rule" under Wis. Stat. 227.01(13); (2) because Palm did not follow rulemaking procedures during Order 28's promulgation, there could be no criminal penalties for violations of her order; and (3) Palm's order further exceeded the statutory authority of Wis. Stat. 252.02. View "Wisconsin Legislature v. Palm" on Justia Law
Langlade County v. D.J.W.
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court's order extending Petitioner's involuntary commitment, holding that the evidence introduced at the recommitment hearing was insufficient to support a conclusion that Petitioner was "dangerous" pursuant to either Wis. Stat. 51.20(1)(a)2.c. or 2.d. and 51.20(1)(am).On appeal, Petitioner argued that Langlade County did not present sufficient evidence of his dangerousness to sustain an extension of his involuntary commitment. The Supreme Court agreed, holding (1) going forward, circuit courts in recommitment proceedings are required to make specific factual findings with reference to the subdivision paragraph of section 51.20(1)(a)2. on which the recommitment is based; and (2) the evidence in this case was insufficient to support the conclusion that Petitioner was "dangerous" under the relevant statutes. View "Langlade County v. D.J.W." on Justia Law
Winnebago County v. C.S.
The Supreme Court held that Wis. Stat. 51.61(1)(g), which permits the involuntary medication of an incompetent but non-dangerous inmate, is facially unconstitutional for any inmate who is involuntarily committed based on determinations that he was mentally ill and in need of treatment when the inmate is involuntarily medicated based merely on a determination that the inmate is incompetent to refuse medication.At issue before the Supreme Court was the circuit court's order of extension of commitment, order for involuntary medication and treatment, and order denying C.S.'s postcommitment motion. C.S., who suffered from schizophrenia, was committed while he was an inmate. Because he was determined incompetent to refuse medication pursuant to section 51.61(1)(g) he was the subject of multiple involuntary medication court orders. C.S. was committed not based upon a determination of dangerousness but, rather, on determinations that he was mentally ill and in need of treatment. C.S. argued that section 51.61(1)(g)(3 is unconstitutional when it permits the involuntary medication of any inmate committed under Wis. Stat. 51.20(1)(ar) without a determination that the inmate is dangerous. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that incompetence to refuse medication alone is not an essential or overriding State interest and cannot justify involuntary medication. View "Winnebago County v. C.S." on Justia Law
Marathon County v. D. K.
In this review of the court of appeals' decision affirming the circuit court's orders for involuntary commitment and involuntary medication and treatment of D.K. the Supreme Court held that there was clear and convincing evidence at a final hearing that D.K. was dangerous as defined under Wis. Stat. 51.20(1)(a)2.b.D.K. argued that he should not have been committed because Winnebago County failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he was dangerous. The circuit court concluded that the County met its burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that D.K. was mentally ill and dangerous. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the circuit court's dangerousness determination was supported by the evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) D.K.'s commitment was not a moot issue because it still subjected him to a firearms ban; and (2) there was clear and convincing evidence that D.K. was dangerous as defined under section 51.20(1)(a)2.b. View "Marathon County v. D. K." on Justia Law
State v. Fitzgerald
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals denying Defendant's petition for a supervisory writ in which Defendant argued that an automatic stay in his case began upon the circuit court's entry of a involuntary medication order rather than upon filing a notice of appeal but vacated the circuit court's order for involuntary medication, holding that the order was constitutionally insufficient.The circuit court ordered Defendant to be involuntarily medicated to restore his competency to stand trial on a felony charge. After the Supreme Court released its decision in State v. Scott, 914 N.W.2d 141 (Wis. 2018), subjecting involuntary medication orders to an automatic stay pending appeal, the circuit court stayed its involuntary medication order. Defendant petitioned the court of appeals for a supervisory writ and challenged the constitutionality of Wis. Stat. 971.14 based on its incompatibility with Sell v. United States, 539 U.S. 166 (2003). The Supreme Court held (1) the court of appeals did not err in denying Defendant's petition for a supervisory writ; and (2) the standard for ordering involuntary medication set forth in section 971.14(3)(dm) and (4)(b) is unconstitutional to the extent it requires circuit courts to order involuntary medication based on a standard that does not comport with Sell. View "State v. Fitzgerald" on Justia Law
Waukesha County v. S.L.L.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals granting Waukesha County's motion to dismiss the appeal brought by Ms. L. challenging the circuit court's judgment extending Ms. L's commitment, holding that all three issues brought by Ms. L. on appeal were moot but that the Court would address two of those three issues.Specifically, the Court held (1) the circuit court still had personal jurisdiction over Ms. L. when it conducted the extension hearing and entered the extension order, and the County's notice did not fail any due process requirements; (2) the circuit court properly entered default against Ms. L. for failing to appear at an extension hearing; and (3) Ms. L.'s issue that there was insufficient evidence to support the circuit court's entry of the extension order was moot. View "Waukesha County v. S.L.L." on Justia Law