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PROBATE 49: Petition for mental health treatment requires two independent medical examinations.

Petitioner, respondent’s brother, filed a petition for mental health treatment with the trial court because he believed that respondent posed a danger to himself and others.

Independent Examinations

Attached to the petition were two clinical certificates, one from Dr. F and one from Dr. A. Both were psychiatrists and had examined respondent together when he was brought into the hospital. Both doctors found that respondent suffered from paranoid delusions and noted it in their respective clinical certificates. Following a hearing on the petition, the trial court found that respondent’s judgment was impaired and that he needed treatment. The trial court ordered respondent to be hospitalized up to 60 days and assisted through outpatient treatment for up to 180 days.

Mental Health Code

Respondent argues that the Mental Health Code, MCL 330.1001 et seq., requires that two separate, independent examinations be conducted before a hearing can be held on a petition for involuntary treatment. Specifically, respondent asserts that MCL 330.1435(4) requires that an individual subject to a petition receive two examinations because it states after each examination.

The provision respondent cites simply does not apply in this case. It applies to cases in which less than two clinical certificates are filed with the petition.

In this case, petitioner filed a petition, which was accompanied by two clinical certificates—each prepared by a psychiatrist after personal examination of the individual, within 72 hours before the filing of the petition. Both clinical certificates reflect that the two psychiatrists examined respondent at 11:00 a.m. on February 18, 2021, the day before the petition was filed. MCL 330.1434 contains no language requiring multiple examinations, and it contains no language indicating that it was the Legislature’s intent to impose such a requirement.

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