The Third Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice Lynch, reversing Supreme Court, determined petitioner psychiatric hospital did not present sufficient evidence to support an order permitting involuntary treatment of respondent for schizophrenia. The Third Department heard the appeal as an exception to the mootness doctrine (the involuntary treatment order had already expired):
The exception to the mootness doctrine applies where an issue (1) could readily recur, (2) will typically evade review, (3) is of public importance and (4) represents a substantial and novel issue yet to be decided by this Court … . As pointed out in respondent’s brief, there were 322 applications for authorization to forcibly treat patients who are within the Third Department during 2014 — a contention that adequately demonstrates that proceedings of this nature will readily recur. Since the duration of these orders is tied into the treatment of the patient, who may, as here, be discharged before an appeal is even perfected, we agree that these proceedings do typically evade review … . And, certainly, the proceeding is of public importance because it implicates a patient’s “fundamental liberty interest to reject antipsychotic medication” … . * * *
What we find significant and novel here is how that standard is to be met by a petitioner and applied by the trial court with respect to the formulation of a medication treatment plan, and, for that reason, we will address the merits of the appeal .. .
The fundamental flaw established by this record is that the scope of medications authorized by Supreme Court was overbroad — a flaw conceded by petitioner. The order actually authorized the use of 28 various medications, including medications for symptoms and illnesses that respondent did not have. …
This point implicates the secondary problem presented in that Supreme Court failed to make specific findings on the record as to respondent’s capacity and the viability of the treatment plan. Matter of Lucas QQ. (Lucas QQ.), 2016 NY Slip Op 07904, 3rd Dept 11-23-16
MENTAL HYGIENE LAW (CRITERIA FOR EXCEPTION TO THE MOOTNESS DOCTRINE EXPLAINED, INVOLUNTARY TREATMENT ORDER REVERSED)/APPEALS (CRITERIA FOR EXCEPTION TO THE MOOTNESS DOCTRINE EXPLAINED, INVOLUNTARY TREATMENT ORDER REVERSED)/MOOTNESS DOCTRINE, EXCEPTION TO (APPEALS, CRITERIA FOR EXCEPTION TO THE MOOTNESS DOCTRINE EXPLAINED, INVOLUNTARY TREATMENT ORDER REVERSED)/INVOLUTARY TREATMENT (MENTAL HYGIENE LAW, CRITERIA FOR EXCEPTION TO THE MOOTNESS DOCTRINE EXPLAINED, INVOLUNTARY TREATMENT ORDER REVERSED)