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COA affirms expired Ch. 51 order for involuntary medication

Douglas County v. K.A.D., 2023AP1072, 2/13/24, District 3 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); petition for review granted 6/17/24 case activity

K.A.D. (“Kyle”) challenged the order authorizing his involuntary medication and treatment on two grounds:  (1) that the county failed to establish that he was provided the required explanation regarding the recommended medication and treatment and (2) that the county failed to prove he is incompetent to refuse medication and treatment. While the court of appeals assumes without deciding that Kyle’s appeal is moot, the court concludes that Kyle’s case meets an exception to the mootness doctrine, and thereafter rejects Kyle’s argument on the merits.

With regard to first and primary issue, the court concludes that “absent consideration of Dr. Bales’ reports and Kyle’s behavior, Bales’ testimony alone was insufficient to establish that Kyle was given an adequate explanation of his medication.” Op., ¶¶18-19. Nevertheless, the court ultimately rejects Kyle’s first sufficiency-based claim for two reasons. First, the court applies its published decision in Outagamie County v. L.X.D.-O., and relies on Dr. Bales’ report on involuntary medication to satisfy the statutory requirement. Op., ¶20. While Kyle attacked Dr. Bales’ report as contradicted by the doctor’s own testimony and suspiciously identical to the report filed in L.X.D.-O., the court rejects Kyle’s arguments in a footnote, which states that “[a]ny similarities between the report in L.X.D.-O. and the reports in the present case do not mean that Bales’ reports are inaccurate or unreliable. Again, we reject this attempt to attack the credibility of Bales’ credibility.” Op., ¶21, n.10.

Second, either because Dr. Bales ended the interview early or because Kyle walked away from the interview, the court holds that Kyle effectively waived his right to the required explanation through his own conduct. While Kyle sought to analogize his case to Marinette County v. A.M.N., the court concludes that the situation here is more analogous to L.D.X.-O., where the court’s holding expressed concern for the “absurd results” that would follow should a subject’s efforts to avoid the medication discussion defeat an otherwise valid medication order. Op., ¶25.

Finally, the court again relies on Dr. Bales’ reports and testimony to conclude that sufficient evidence was presented on the substantive question of whether sufficient evidence was presented that Kyle is incompetent to refuse medication or treatment. Op., ¶¶26-29.

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