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WPI 360.12 Gravely Disabled—Behavioral Health Disorder—Definition

6A WAPRAC WPI 360.12Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6A Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 360.12 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part XIX. Involuntary Treatment
Chapter 360. Behavioral Health Disorders
WPI 360.12 Gravely Disabled—Behavioral Health Disorder—Definition
Gravely disabled means a condition in which a person, as a result of a behavioral health disorder:
(1) is in danger of serious physical harm resulting from a failure to provide for his or her essential human needs of health or safety, or
(2) manifests severe deterioration in routine functioning evidenced by repeated and escalating loss of cognitive or volitional control over his or her actions and is not receiving or would not receive, if released, such care as is essential for his or her health or safety.
Use this definition in every case involving grave disability.
RCW 71.05.020(23). The Legislature amended RCW 71.05 et seq. to collectively refer to mental illness and substance abuse as behavioral health disorders. See Laws of 2020, Chapter 302, § 41.
The Washington Supreme Court upheld prior (but substantially similar) versions of RCW 71.05.020 against challenges that the statutes were unconstitutionally vague or overbroad. In re Detention of LaBelle, 107 Wn.2d 196, 728 P.2d 138 (1986). The court in LaBelle construed RCW 71.05.020 to require a showing of a substantial risk of danger of serious harm resulting from the failure to provide for essential health and safety needs. In making this showing, the State “must present recent, tangible evidence of failure or inability to provide for such essential human needs as food, clothing, shelter, and medical treatment that presents a high probability of serious physical harm within the near future unless adequate treatment is afforded.” LaBelle, 107 Wn.2d at 204–05; see Morris v. Blaker, 118 Wn.2d 133, 138, 821 P.2d 482 (1992) (quoting LaBelle). Furthermore, the failure or inability to provide for these essential needs must be shown to arise as a result of mental disorder and not because of other factors. LaBelle, 107 Wn.2d at 204–05.
When the State is proceeding under the gravely disabled standard defined in RCW 71.05.020, the evidence must provide a factual basis for concluding that an individual manifests severe mental deterioration in routine functioning. This evidence must include recent proof of significant loss of cognitive or volitional control. In addition, the evidence must reveal a factual basis for concluding that the individual is not receiving or would not receive, if released, such care as is essential for his or her health or safety. It is not enough to show that care and treatment of an individual's mental illness would be preferred or beneficial or even in his or her best interests. To justify commitment, such care must be shown to be essential to an individual's health or safety and the evidence should indicate the harmful consequences likely to follow if involuntary treatment is not ordered. Moreover, the person with the mental disorder must be unable, because of severe deterioration of mental functioning, to make a rational decision with respect to his or her need for treatment. LaBelle, 107 Wn.2d 196.
Depending on the facts of the particular case, it may be advisable to supplement the instruction with language from LaBelle or R.A.W. in order to more fully explain the meaning of the statutory language. See LaBelle, 107 Wn.2d at 204–08 (construing the statutory definition of “gravely disabled” so that the statute is neither vague nor overbroad); In re Detention of R.A.W., 104 Wn.App. 215, 224–25, 15 P.3d 705 (2001) (approving the trial court's instruction, which was taken directly from this pattern instruction, but also setting forth an analysis that provides greater specificity as to the statutory requirements).
[Current as of January 2021.]
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