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In re S.C.

Supreme Court of Montana

May 28, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF: S.C., Respondent and Appellant.

Submitted on Briefs: February 6, 2013

APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Eleventh Judicial District, In and For the County of Flathead, Cause No. DI 06-111B Honorable Robert B Allison, Presiding Judge.

For Appellant: Wade Zolynski, Chief Appellate Defender, Kristen L. Larson, Assistant Appellate Defender; Helena, Montana

For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Tammy K Plubell, Assistant Attorney General; Helena, Montana

Ed Corrigan, Flathead County Attorney; Kalispell, Montana

OPINION

Brian Morris Justice

¶1 Appellant S.C. appeals from a determination in the Eleventh Judicial District Court, Flathead County to grant the State of Montana's (State) petition to extend S.C.'s involuntary outpatient mental health treatment plan. S.C. alleges that the State failed to comply with the timeliness requirements necessary to extend the plan as provided in § 53-21-198, MCA. We reverse.

¶2 We address the following issue on appeal:

¶3 Whether the District Court properly granted the State's third request to extend S.C.'s involuntary treatment plan?

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶4 Local police officers brought S.C. to the Kalispell Regional Medical Center's emergency room on September 20, 2011. S.C. appeared to be suffering from significant depression and disorganization of thought activity. Katie Henley (Henley), a psychiatric nurse practitioner for the Western Montana Mental Health Center, met with S.C. to observe S.C.'s behavior. Henley observed that S.C.'s mental condition had deteriorated from a point that Henley had determined to be S.C.'s "baseline." The Kalispell Regional Medical Center transferred S.C. to the Pathways Treatment Center.

¶5 Dr. James Rougle (Dr. Rougle), a psychiatrist at the Pathways Treatment Center, evaluated S.C. Among other things, Dr. Rougle interviewed S.C.'s father (Father). Father reported that S.C. had become increasingly paranoid. Father reported that S.C. heard voices. Father increasingly feared S.C. Father felt unsafe with S.C. living at home. Dr. Rougle diagnosed S.C. as bipolar. Dr. Rougle also determined that S.C was suffering from an episode of depression. Dr. Rougle concluded that S.C.'s depression was making it extremely difficult for S.C. to maintain his baseline mental state.

¶6 The District Court conducted a hearing on October 6, 2011. Dr. Rougle testified that S.C. was incapable of meeting his own needs. Dr. Rougle recommended that S.C. be committed to the Montana State Hospital (MSH) so that S.C. could receive proper medical care to allow him to return to his baseline. Dr. Rougle further testified that MSH provided the least restrictive environment where someone could look after S.C.'s daily needs. Father testified that he locked his bedroom door at night because he feared what S.C. might do. Father reiterated that he was unwilling to allow S.C. to return home until S.C.'s mental state improved.

ΒΆ7 The District Court determined that S.C. should be committed involuntarily to MSH. The court ordered that S.C.'s period of commitment was "not to exceed ninety days, unless extended as provided by law." ...


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