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In re F.M.G.

Supreme Court of North Dakota

May 16, 2017

In the Interest of F.M.G.
v.
F.M.G., Respondent and Appellant Raymond Dingeman, Petitioner and Appellee

         Appeal from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Gail Hagerty, Judge.

          Brian L. Johnson, Assistant State's Attorney, Bismarck, N.D., for petitioner and appellee.

          Donald Sauviac, Jr. (argued) and Steven Balaban (appeared), Bismarck, N.D., for respondent and appellant.

          OPINION

          McEVERS, JUSTICE.

         [¶ 1] F.M.G. appeals the district court's order authorizing involuntary treatment with prescribed medication. F.M.G. argues the district court erred in granting the request to treat her with prescribed medications, because the proper medical providers did not testify at the hearing under N.D.C.C. § 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a), and the mandatory certification requirements under N.D.C.C. § 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a)(2) were not met. We conclude N.D.C.C. § 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a) does not require both treating and non-treating physicians to testify at the hearing, and F.M.G. did not adequately raise the issue of whether the form used to request involuntary treatment with medication met the certification requirements under N.D.C.C. § 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a)(2) before the district court. Therefore, we affirm the district court's order.

         I

         [¶ 2] On January 10, 2017, the State petitioned to involuntarily commit F.M.G. Following a preliminary hearing on January 13, 2017, the district court found F.M.G. was a mentally ill person requiring treatment and ordered commitment with the Sanford hospital in Bismarck, North Dakota. After a treatment hearing on January 27, 2017, F.M.G. was transferred to the North Dakota State Hospital. On February 7, 2017, Dr. Eduardo Yabut, one of F.M.G.'s treating psychiatrists at the State Hospital, filed a signed "Request to Treat with Medication." Dr. Clark Herniman also signed the request as a medical professional not involved in the current diagnosis or treatment of F.M.G. The request was submitted on a form stating:

The patient is a person requiring treatment and the proposed medication, (identify each medication)
(Risperidone, Haloperidol, Paliperidone, Olanzapine, Aripiprazole)
is clinically appropriate and necessary to effectively treat the patient.
() The patient was offered the treatment and refused it
or
() The patient lacks the capacity to make or communicate a responsible decision about the treatment with medication.
The proposed medication is the least restrictive form of intervention necessary to meet the treatment needs of the patient.[]
The benefits of the treatment outweigh the known risks to the patient.

         [¶ 3] The form contained boxes to check regarding the refusal of medication and the capacity to make a responsible decision about the treatment with medication. Neither box was checked, and the form was not dated. Attached to the form was a letter dated February 3, 2017, signed by Dr. Yabut. In his letter, Dr. Yabut stated "[F.M.G.] was medication noncompliant." The letter continued, "[F.M.G.] remains medication noncompliant. Thus, we are petitioning the court for involuntary medication so she can finally be treated. The medications that we are going for are Haloperidol, Risperidone, Paliperidone, Olanzapine and Aripiprazole." (Emphasis added.)

         [¶ 4] On March 6, 2017, a hearing was held. The State called Dr. William Pryatel, another of F.M.G.'s treating physicians, to testify regarding the request to involuntarily treat F.M.G. with medication. Dr. Pryatel testified he was F.M.G.'s psychiatrist, but he was on vacation in early February, and was aware Dr. Yabut and Dr. Herniman signed the request to treat with medication in his absence. Both the State and the district court questioned Dr. Pryatel as to the statutory requirements under N.D.C.C. § 25-03.1-18.1. Dr. Pryatel testified each requirement under N.D.C.C. § 25-03.1-18.1 had been met in F.M.G.'s case.

         [¶ 5] At the close of the State's argument, F.M.G. moved for a "directed verdict" on the grounds the requirements under N.D.C.C. § 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a) had not been met. Specifically, F.M.G. argued the State failed to call a doctor not involved in her treatment or diagnosis to testify and, therefore, the State did not meet the "requisite" under N.D.C.C. § 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a). The district court denied F.M.G.'s motion. The district court found the requirements under N.D.C.C. § ...


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