In the Matter of L. M., a Person Alleged to have Mental Illness.
L. M., Appellant. 299 Or.App. 710 STATE OF OREGON, Respondent,
Submitted November 29, 2018
County Circuit Court 17CC04823; Janet A. Klapstein, Judge pro
R. DeBin and Multnomah Defenders, Inc., fled the brief for
F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor
General, and Robert M. Wilsey, Assistant Attorney General,
fled the brief for respondent.
Hadlock, Presiding Judge, and DeHoog, Judge, and Aoyagi,
Summary: Appellant in this civil commitment case appeals an
order continuing his commitment to the Oregon Health
Authority for an additional period not to exceed 180 days. On
appeal, appellant asserts that the trial court erred in
determining that he was unable to provide for his basic needs
because he had a history of resisting medical treatment.
Held: The record was insufficient to support a
finding that appellant's mental disorder left him unable
to provide for his basic needs.
Or.App. 711] HADLOCK, P. J.
was committed to the Oregon Health Authority because of
mental illness in 2017 and, in the proceeding that is the
subject of this appeal, was committed in early 2018 for an
additional period of up to 180 days. The trial court based
that commitment exclusively on the basis that appellant
continued to be mentally ill because his mental disorder left
him unable to provide for his basic needs. On appeal from the
order of continued commitment, appellant argues that the
record does not support the trial court's basic-needs
determination. We agree and, accordingly, reverse.
describe the facts in the light most favorable to the trial
court's order. State v. M. G., 296 Or.App. 714,
715, 440 P.3d 123 (2019). At the time of the January 2018
continued-commitment hearing, appellant was housed at the
Oregon State Hospital. He was 21 years old and would turn 22
in March. Appellant's treating psychiatrist testified
that information from appellant's family indicated that
appellant had "probably been psychotic and ill since the
age of 18." Before his initial commitment in 2017,
appellant lived with his family. He often wandered away from
home, sometimes returning only partly dressed. At least once,
his family members found him lying on a sidewalk near busy
streets. He drank "household cleaner, such as
Pine-Sol," and had other disorganized behaviors.
Appellant's family members attempted "numerous
times" to get him help, including by taking him to
appointments, the nature of which is not described in the
record. Appellant once jumped from a moving car to avoid
going to an appointment. He also jumped from second-floor
balconies and ran to avoid appointments. In the past,
appellant has become "very psychotic" when not
medicated, has [299 Or.App. 712] had "multiple run-ins
with the law," and has pushed family members and
destroyed property. Appellant was unkempt and, in the six
months before his initial hospitalization, he lost 30 pounds.
However, the record does not reflect whether that weight loss
created any medical concerns.
summer of 2017, appellant "sustained a laceration to his
hand and to his arm," and his family found him
"with pools of blood." Appellant would not go with
his family to the hospital, so they called 9-1-1 and had him
taken in for treatment, which included staples. When it was
time for the staples to be removed, it took three family
members to get him to the hospital to have that done. While
there, family members were able to have appellant
psychiatrically admitted, and he was hospitalized for about
two weeks. Appellant was given medications and sent home, but
he disappeared two days later. Appellant returned home within
a few days, "but he was only wearing paper bottom
scrubs" and "had EKG stickers all over his chest
and he had an IV-line in his arm." Appellant's
initial commitment followed.
hospitalized on that commitment order, appellant needed
round-the-clock supervision for such things as administration
of medications and attending to his hygiene and grooming,
despite being on a medication regime. He needed constant
reminders to change clothing and do laundry and was oblivious
when he spilled liquids on himself. He often threw out the
food he was given and then rummaged through trash for scraps.
However, although appellant has some nonpsychiatric medical
conditions, none of them pose a risk to his personal safety
or his life, and he is "very healthy."
psychiatrist does not believe that appellant will continue
taking medications if he is released into an unsupervised
setting. Without medications, appellant would
"decompensate further" and his symptoms "would
become much worse." In the psychiatrist's view,
appellant would not be able to "take care of his basic
needs" and "could possibly become physically
aggressive." The psychiatrist does not believe that
appellant is ready to leave the hospital. Appellant's
family is "incredibly supportive," but he can no
longer live with his mother because, when he did, "there
was [299 Or.App. 713] a lot of property destruction at the
apartment," and she was evicted.
trial court announced its ruling at the end of the hearing,
explaining the specific reasons that it found appellant
unable to provide for his basic needs. First, the court noted
that it was not basing its ruling on the evidence regarding
appellant's eating and hygiene behaviors. Rather, the
court's ruling was essentially based on appellant's
history of being "actively resistant to seeking medical
"So were he to be harmed, hit by a car, injured, he not
only would not know how to seek medical attention, but would
be actively resistant to medical attention, and I agree that
he has a history of refusing hospitalization on a number of
occasion[s], even to the extent that he's jumping off
balconies, out of moving cars. I ...