2017 Mass.App.Div. 183, In re A.D.

Citation:2017 Mass.App.Div. 183
Opinion Judge:KARSTETTER, J.
Attorney:Diane M. Geraghty Hall for the petitioner. Roberta Mann Driscoll for the respondent.
Judge Panel:Present: Coven, P.J., Flynn & Karstetter, JJ.
Case Date:December 14, 2017
Court:Massachusetts Appellate Division

2017 Mass.App.Div. 183


Massachusetts Appellate Division, District Court Department, Northern District

December 14, 2017

October 20, 2017

Diane M. Geraghty Hall for the petitioner.

Roberta Mann Driscoll for the respondent.

Present: Coven, P.J., Flynn & Karstetter, JJ.


This is an appeal from an order of the Cambridge District Court authorizing commitment of the appellant, A.D., to McLean Hospital (the "hospital") pursuant to G.L. c. 123, §§ 7 and 8. The hospital filed its petition for civil commitment of A.D. on November 21, 2016. 1 After hearing on December 8, 2016, the petition for commitment was granted. On December 15, 2016, the hospital discharged A.D. On December 16, 2016, A.D. filed a notice of appeal pursuant to G.L. c. 123, § 9(a), challenging the sufficiency of the evidence and the order of commitment. Because the appeal is moot, we dismiss.

The evidence at the hearing came from one witness for the hospital, Dr. Robert Aranow ("Aranow"), who was qualified as an expert without objection. There was testimonial evidence in support of the statutory requirements for commitment. 2 Dr. Aranow testified that A.D. was "[h]yper-religious in a very euphoric way," that he was "sleeping as little as less than an hour a night some nights," and that he was "agitated wanting -- trying to escape, and needed restraints." In his opinion, A.D. suffered from bipolar disorder and was in his "first full-blown manic episode," which was not abating. Dr. Aranow further opined that the level of A.D.'s mania and disorganized thought could, if he were not receiving treatment in a structured setting, result in criminal behavior or even suicide.

"[L]itigation is considered moot when the party who claimed to be aggrieved ceases to have a personal stake in its outcome." Globe Newspaper Co. v. Chief Med. Examiner, 404 Mass. 132 , 134 (1989), quoting Blake v. Massachusetts Parole Bd., 369 Mass. 701 , 703 (1976). "The general rule is that courts ordinarily will not decide moot questions." Norwood Hosp. v. Munoz, 409 Mass. 116 , 121 (1991). Exceptions to this general rule arise "where the issue was one of...

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