CHA News Article

No Private Lawsuit Allowed Under Involuntary Mental Health Evaluation Laws

Last week the California Court of Appeals ruled in Julian v. Mission Community Hospital, finding that California’s involuntary mental health evaluation and treatment laws do not confer a private cause of action. This means that a patient cannot sue a hospital or physician for involuntarily detaining, evaluating or treating him or her. The court held that only administrative agencies — such as the California Department of Public Health or the Medical Board of California — can enforce these laws against a hospital or physicians. The court also held that the hospital and physicians were not state actors under civil rights laws and, therefore, could not be liable for violating the plaintiff’s rights under the federal and California constitutions. 

The case was certified for publication, which means that it may be cited as precedent in future lawsuits. It is unknown at this time whether the plaintiff will ask the California Supreme Court to review the case. The court’s decision is attached.