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SCOW accepts review of yet another Chapter 51 appeal

Douglas County v. K.A.D., 2023AP1072, petition for review of an unpublished court of appeals decision granted 6/17/24; case activity (including briefs)

In an interesting grant, SCOW agrees to review this freestanding appeal of an expired medication order.

As we pointed out in our prior post, this medication appeal presented essentially two issues for COA’s review: (1) whether the County presented sufficient evidence to involuntary medicate “Kyle” and (2) whether Kyle waived his right to receive the statutorily-required explanation of advantages, disadvantages and alternatives.

As is often the frustrating case when dealing with Chapter 51 appeals, we don’t have access to the confidential filings in this case. But, there seems to be several issues percolating below the surface and the rampant speculation part of the post therefore starts here. First, the case’s similarity to the recently dismissed D.E.W. appeal is striking; perhaps this case is being taken as something of a substitute to overcome whatever problems emerged in that litigation. Second, the case is heavily concerned with the weight to be given the report of an examiner, as compared to their in-court testimony. This seems to be a recurrent issue and, perhaps, we will get some guidance as to how Chapter 51 reports are to be used in evaluating sufficiency challenges. Finally, the issue relating to waiver seems interesting if also somewhat entangled with another case currently being considered by SCOW, M.A.C.  At the very least, we seem poised to receive updated guidance on how medication hearings “work,” so stay tuned for some (hopeful) clarification of this confusing and underdeveloped area of our Chapter 51 law.

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