In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of B.N.; B.N., Appellant-Respondent,
Community Health Network, Inc., Appellee-Petitioner.
from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Kelly Scanlan,
Judge Pro Tempore Trial Court Cause No. 49D08-1904-MH-13007
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Megan Shipley Marion County Public
Defender's Agency Indianapolis, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Jenny R. Buchheit Stephen E. Reynolds
Sean T. Dewey Ice Miller LLP Indianapolis, Indiana
of the Case
B.N. ("B.N.") appeals the trial court's order
for his involuntary temporary commitment to Community
Health Network, Inc. ("the Hospital") for a period
not to exceed ninety days. B.N. argues that the trial court
violated his due process right of having the Hospital meet
its burden of proving the elements of the involuntary
commitment by clear and convincing evidence. Specifically, he
contends that the trial court violated this due process right
when it ordered him to an involuntary temporary commitment
based in part on his own testimony given during the
commitment hearing. He also argues that the Hospital did not
prove by clear and convincing evidence that the commitment
was appropriate. Concluding that there was no due process
violation and that B.N.'s sufficiency argument is nothing
more than a request to reweigh the evidence, we affirm the
trial court's involuntary temporary commitment order.
the trial court's order for an involuntary commitment
complied with B.N.'s due process right and is supported
by sufficient evidence.
On March 28, 2019, sixty-two-year-old B.N. was admitted to
the Hospital through its crisis department and was examined
by psychiatrist Dr. Syed Hasan ("Dr. Hasan").
Thereafter, Dr. Hasan, on behalf of the Hospital, filed an
application for the emergency detention of B.N. The Hospital
alleged that B.N. was suffering from a psychiatric disorder
and was both gravely disabled and dangerous to himself and
others. The application indicated that B.N. had been
"agitated, delusional, paranoid, not sleeping,
report[ing] God is speaking to him[, ]" had been
"refusing medication" and had "poor insight
and poor judgment[.]" (App. Vol. 2 at 10, 11). The
application also indicated that B.N. had suicidal ideation.
A few days later, Dr. Hasan filed a Report Following
Emergency Detention, requesting the trial court to order B.N.
to be involuntary committed to the Hospital on a temporary
basis. Dr. Hasan indicated that B.N. was suffering from a
delusional disorder and schizophrenia and that he was
dangerous and gravely disabled. More specifically, Dr. Hasan
reported that B.N. had poor insight, did not believe that he
had a mental illness, and had been refusing treatment.
On April 9, 2019, the trial court held a commitment hearing.
In support of its involuntary temporary commitment request,
the Hospital presented testimony from Dr. Hasan; B.N.
stipulated that the doctor was an expert in psychiatry. Dr.
Hasan testified that he had examined B.N. four times during
his hospital admission, including on the day of the hearing,
and he had diagnosed B.N. with delusional disorder and
schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. The doctor also
testified that B.N. had a history of mental illness and that
he had had a prior hospitalization in Ohio and had received
treatment at Gallahue. Dr. Hasan testified that, at the time
of B.N.'s emergency admission, B.N. "had been
increasingly paranoid and [had been] exhibiting erratic and
dangerous behavior." (Tr. Vol. 2 at 6). Additionally,
B.N. had not been sleeping or eating and had not been
receiving treatment. However, B.N. did report to Dr. Hasan
that he had been in the process of getting established at the
VA hospital for psychiatric treatment.
Dr. Hasan testified that B.N. did not have insight into his
illness when he was not taking medication and that, based on
B.N.'s history, there was a risk that B.N. was dangerous
to others. According to Dr. Hasan, B.N. had been "very
religiously preoccupied[, ]" believing that God was
speaking to him, "thinking that he [wa]s doing the work
of God - missionary work[, ]" and "need[ing] to get
churches." (Tr. Vol. 2 at 7). On one occasion, which was
at the time of "the New Zealand shooting incident in the
mosque[, ]" B.N. had "parked a car in front of [a]
church so people could not come out of the front door[,
]" and the police were called to the scene. (Tr. Vol. 2
at 8). According to Dr. Hasan, B.N. had had "several
instances where he ha[d] been involved with the police
department filing complaints[, ] and [he] then believe[d]
that there [wa]s a conspiracy going on against him."
(Tr. Vol. 2 at 7). Dr. Hasan testified that, in addition to
B.N.'s "encounters with the police department"
and the "incident at the church[, ]" he was also
concerned about B.N.'s "hyper focus on people in
higher positions abusing power and then acting in a way that
c[ould] be dangerous." (Tr. Vol. 2 at 11). In 2015, B.N.
had complained about the mayor and the abuse of power, and he
sent the mayor emails that were "perceived maybe as an
indirect threat." (Tr. Vol. 2 at 11). Dr. Hasan further
testified that, during B.N.'s hospitalization, he had
been "very paranoid with the staff members[, ]"
thinking that they had "a conspiracy against
him[.]" (Tr. Vol. 2 at 9). Additionally, B.N. had not
followed directions from the staff and had become
"extremely agitated" to the point where he had hit
a nurse. (Tr. Vol. 2 at 9).
Dr. Hasan also testified that B.N. was gravely disabled and
had an "impaired ability to function
independently." (Tr. Vol. 2 at 9). The doctor explained
that B.N. had been "disorganized and erratic and
dangerous" when he was first admitted and that he had
been unable to work because he had been "doing work for
God[.]" (Tr. Vol. 2 at 9). Dr. Hasan testified that when
B.N. became paranoid and delusional, his ability to follow
directions and to trust people became compromised.
Dr. Hasan further testified that his treatment plan for B.N.
included continued in-patient treatment, two injections of an
anti-psychotic medication, and then a transition to
outpatient services within one week. The doctor also
testified that B.N. had initially indicated that he would
refuse to take any medications without a court order but that
he then had begun to take the medication, which had yielded
"some improvement[.]" (Tr. Vol. 2 at 12). Dr. Hasan
explained that an involuntary temporary commitment was
recommended to improve B.N.'s condition and to stabilize
his medication before moving him to outpatient treatment.
According to Dr. Hasan, the prescribed medications and
treatment plan would help to treat B.N.'s mental illness.
He also testified that, with treatment, B.N.'s prognosis
was "fair" and that, without treatment, his
prognosis was "poor." (Tr. Vol. 2 at 13).
Additionally, Dr. Hasan ...