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In Re Tiffany W., Alleged To Be A Person v. Tiffany W

September 21, 2012

IN RE TIFFANY W., ALLEGED TO BE A PERSON INVOLUNTARY ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICATION, (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, ) PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
TIFFANY W., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Subject to Circuit Court of Psychotropic Cook County. No. 10 COMH 1713R Honorable Robert W. Bertucci, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Hall

JUSTICE HALL delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Hoffman and Rochford concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 In her original appeal to this court, respondent Tiffany W. challenged the July 29, 2010, order of the circuit court of Cook County, which found her to be a person subject to involuntary administration of psychotropic medication under section 2-107.1 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Mental Health Code) (405 ILCS 5/2-107.1 (West 2008)). On appeal, she contended that: (1) the State did not comply with the notice requirements under section 2-102(a-5) of the Mental Health Code (405 ILCS 5/2-102(a-5) (West 2008)); and (2) the State failed to establish the elements necessary to administer medication to a non-consenting person. In response, the State argued that the appeal was moot because the July 29, 2010, order had expired. We agreed with the State and dismissed the appeal. See In re Tiffany W., 2011 IL App 1st) 102492-U.

¶ 2 On July 17, 2012, our supreme court denied leave to appeal but issued a supervisory order directing this court to vacate our order dismissing the appeal as moot, reinstate the appeal and consider the case on the merits. In accordance with the supervisory order, we vacate our prior order and address the merits of the issues raised on appeal. The relevant facts are not in dispute.

¶ 3 Respondent Tiffany W. was 39 years old, at the time of these proceedings, and an army veteran. She was previously diagnosed with schizophrenia and suffers from delusions and paranoia. She had been hospitalized on numerous occasions, including at least three admissions within the year preceding the hearing. As the result of a fall from a ninth-story window, when she was 32 years old, respondent Tiffany W. suffered permanent damage to her brain and spine. She is confined to a wheelchair and suffers from quadraparesis and dysarthria. Tiffany W. 2010 IL App (1st) 102492-U, ¶ 3.

¶ 4 In 2009, respondent Tiffany W. stopped taking her psychotropic medication. Thereafter, her behavior and demeanor diminished, resulting in delusions, including beliefs that she is either a man or God, frequent outbursts involving inappropriate and abusive language, and a decreased ability to care for her own hygiene or health. Dr. Blitzstein, respondent Tiffany W.'s treating psychiatrist, filed a petition seeking an order for the involuntary administration of psychotropic medication in order to treat respondent Tiffany W.'s illness and to improve her quality of life.

Tiffany W. 2010 IL App (1st) 102492-U, ¶ 4.

¶ 5 At the hearing on the petition, testimony from Larry W., respondent Tiffany W.'s father, and Dr. Sean M. Blitzstein, her treating psychiatrist, revealed that when respondent Tiffany W. took her psychotropic medication, she was able to live in her own residence with the assistance of caregivers. Without psychotropic medication, she became agitated easily, delusional and generally was unable to care for herself. Dr. Blitzstein opined that respondent Tiffany W. did not have the capacity to decide for herself whether to take or refuse the medication. Tiffany W. 2010 IL App (1st) 102492-U, ¶ ¶ 3-4.

¶ 6 Following the hearing, the circuit court granted the petition and ordered the administration of psychotropic medication to respondent Tiffany W.

¶ 7 ANALYSIS

¶ 8 On appeal, respondent Tiffany W. contends that the State's failure to comply with the written notice requirement under section 2-102(a-5) of the Mental Health Code requires reversal of the circuit court's order. She further contends that the State failed to establish the elements necessary to administer medication to a non-consenting person.

¶ 9 I. Standards of Review

ΒΆ 10 Whether there was substantial compliance with a statutory provision presents a question of law, which we review de novo. In re Nicholas L., 407 Ill. App. 3d 1061, 1072 (2nd Dist. 2011). A reviewing court will not reverse a trial court's determination as to the sufficiency of the evidence unless it is against the manifest weight of the evidence. In re Laura H., 404 Ill. App. 3d 286, 290 (4th Dist. 2010). A judgment is against the manifest weight of the evidence only where the opposite conclusion is ...


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