IN THE MATTER OF G.G., Alleged to Be Seriously Mentally Impaired, G.G., Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Magistrate
Edward J. Leff.
appeals the magistrate's determination that he was
seriously mentally impaired. AFFIRMED.
E. Townsend, Coralville, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen W. Kraemer,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and McDonald, JJ.
a sixty-six-year-old veteran who was diagnosed with bipolar
disorder and was treated with medication, which stabilized
his manic episodes for approximately twenty years. In 2016,
G.G.'s physician told him to "taper off" the
medication. G.G. followed this instruction, but the result
was a manic episode. G.G.'s wife took him to a Veterans
Administration hospital. On the way, G.G. got out of the
vehicle when the car stopped. His wife was able to get him
back in the vehicle and to the emergency room, where he was
magistrate entered an emergency hospitalization order after
finding probable cause to believe G.G. was seriously mentally
impaired and was likely to injure himself or others if not
immediately detained. Following a hearing, the magistrate
determined G.G. was seriously mentally impaired and civilly
committed him to the hospital on an inpatient basis. Four
days later, the magistrate terminated the commitment. G.G.
filed an appeal with the district court. After the matter was
set for hearing, the State filed a motion to dismiss. G.G.
resisted, but the court dismissed the appeal on the ground
that it was moot. This appeal followed.
first address G.G.'s assertion the district court was
wrong in dismissing his appeal as moot. Because the
commitment order was terminated, his appeal to the district
court and now his appeal to this court are both, in essence,
moot, but the collateral-consequences exception to the
mootness doctrine permits review of the merits. See In re
B.B., 826 N.W.2d 425, 429 (Iowa 2013) (noting the
"stigma of mental illness" and concluding "a
party who has been adjudicated seriously mentally impaired
and involuntarily committed is presumed to suffer collateral
consequences justifying appellate review").
to the merits of the magistrate's commitment order. The
magistrate's findings "are binding on us if
supported by substantial evidence." In re J.P.,
574 N.W.2d 340, 342 (Iowa 1998).
A person is "seriously mentally impaired" if the
mental illness and because of that illness lacks sufficient
judgment to make responsible decisions with respect to the
person's hospitalization or treatment, and who because of
that illness meets any of the following criteria:
(a) Is likely to physically injure the person's self or
others if allowed to remain at liberty without treatment;
(b) Is likely to inflict serious emotional injury on members
of the person's family or others who lack reasonable
opportunity to avoid contact with the person with mental
illness if the person with mental illness ...