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SCOW dismisses appeal regarding 48-hour deadline for filing ch. 51 examiners’ reports

Last fall, SCOW granted review on the question of whether a doctor’s failure to file an examiner’s report 48 hours before a commitment hearing deprived the circuit court of competence to adjudicate the case. See our post on Fond du Lac County v. S.N.W., Appeal No. 2019AP2073. This is a recurring problem, so Chapter 51 lawyers eagerly awaited the answer. Unfortunately, after briefing and oral argument, SCOW has dismissed yet another Chapter 51 case without a decision.

SCOW issued a per curiam order dismissing this case on the grounds that review was improvidently granted. Justice A.W. Bradley filed a dissent.  She criticized SCOW’s recent practice of dismissing cases as improvidently granted (after the investment of substantial time on briefing and argument) without any explanation.  That was not always the case, she notes.

Paragraphs 14 and 15 suggest that mootness perhaps played a role in the dismissal of this important case. Whatever the reason, this is the third time in 15 months that SCOW has essentially dismissed a Chapter 51 case after briefing and argument. See Waukesha County v. J.J.K (dismissed as improvidently granted) and Portage County v. E.R.R. (3-3 split).

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