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Justices to review sanctions in false emergency detention report

February 24, 2014

The Indiana Supreme Court will review a case in which the Court of Appeals tossed an indirect civil contempt of court finding but let stand fines against a nurse accused of making false statements about the mental health of a co-worker that led to emergency detention.

Justices last week agreed to hear In the Matter of Mental Health Actions for A.S.; Sara Townsend, 10A01-1211-MH-501. Townsend alleged a co-worker said she was having marital problems and wanted to “end it all,” after which the co-worker was detained without a physician’s evaluation.

But the co-worker was released after several people told the judge they believed she shouldn’t have been detained. Clark Circuit Judge Daniel Moore later found Townsend in indirect civil contempt and ordered her to pay A.S.’s uninsured hospital bills resulting from the detention; $500 to the hospital; and $1,000 toward whatever attorney fees A.S. incurred as a result of the contempt hearing.

The Court of Appeals reversed the contempt finding but affirmed the fines as within the court’s power to impose sanctions.

The case was the lone matter to which justices granted transfer for the week ending Feb. 21. Justices denied transfer in seven cases. Transfer dispositions may be viewed here.
 

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