California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

4000. Conservatorship - Essential Factual Elements

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4000.Conservatorship—Essential Factual Elements
[Name of petitioner] claims that [name of respondent] is gravely disabled
due to [a mental disorder/impairment by chronic alcoholism] and
therefore should be placed in a conservatorship. In a conservatorship, a
conservator is appointed to oversee, under the direction of the court, the
care of persons who are gravely disabled due to a mental disorder or
chronic alcoholism. To succeed on this claim, [name of petitioner] must
prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the following:
1. That [name of respondent] [has a mental disorder/is impaired by
chronic alcoholism]; [and]
2. That [name of respondent] is gravely disabled as a result of the
[mental disorder/chronic alcoholism][; and/.]
[3. That [name of respondent] is unwilling or unable voluntarily to
accept meaningful treatment.]
New June 2005; Revised June 2016
Directions for Use
There is a split of authority as to whether element 3 is required. (Compare
Conservatorship of Symington (1989) 209 Cal.App.3d 1464, 1467 [257 Cal.Rptr.
860] [“[M]any gravely disabled individuals are simply beyond treatment”] with
Conservatorship of Davis (1981) 124 Cal.App.3d 313, 328 [177 Cal.Rptr. 369]
[jury should be allowed to consider all factors that bear on whether person should
be on LPS conservatorship, including willingness to accept treatment].)
Sources and Authority
• Right to Jury Trial. Welfare and Institutions Code section 5350(d).
“Gravely Disabled” Defined. Welfare and Institutions Code section 5008(h).
• “The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (the act) governs the involuntary treatment of
the mentally ill in California. Enacted by the Legislature in 1967, the act
includes among its goals ending the inappropriate and indefinite commitment of
the mentally ill, providing prompt evaluation and treatment of persons with
serious mental disorders, guaranteeing and protecting public safety, safeguarding
the rights of the involuntarily committed through judicial review, and providing
individualized treatment, supervision and placement services for the gravely
disabled by means of a conservatorship program.” (Conservatorship of Susan T.
(1994) 8 Cal.4th 1005, 1008–1009 [36 Cal.Rptr.2d 40, 884 P.2d 988].)
• “The right to a jury trial upon the establishment of conservatorship is
fundamental to the protections afforded by the LPS. As related, that right is
expressly extended to the reestablishment of an LPS conservatorship.”
896
0002
(Conservatorship of Benvenuto (1986) 180 Cal.App.3d 1030, 1037 [226
Cal.Rptr. 33], internal citations omitted.)
• “[T]he trial court erred in accepting counsel’s waiver of [conservatee]’s right to
a jury trial . . . . (Estate of Kevin A. (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 1241, 1253 [193
Cal.Rptr.3d 237].)
• “ ‘The due process clause of the California Constitution requires that proof
beyond a reasonable doubt and a unanimous jury verdict be applied to
conservatorship proceedings under the LPS Act.’ An LPS commitment order
involves a loss of liberty by the conservatee. Consequently, it follows that a
trial court must obtain a waiver of the right to a jury trial from the person who
is subject to an LPS commitment.” (Conservatorship of Heather W. (2016) 245
Cal.App.4th 378, 382–383 [199 Cal.Rptr.3d 689].)
• “We . . . hold that a person sought to be made an LPS conservatee subject to
involuntary confinement in a mental institution, is entitled to have a unanimous
jury determination of all of the questions involved in the imposition of such a
conservatorship, and not just on the issue of grave disability in the narrow sense
of whether he or she can safely survive in freedom and provide food, clothing
or shelter unaided by willing, responsible relatives, friends or appropriate third
persons.” (Conservatorship of Davis,supra, 124 Cal.App.3d at p. 328.)
• “The jury should determine if the person voluntarily accepts meaningful
treatment, in which case no conservatorship is necessary. If the jury finds the
person will not accept treatment, then it must determine if the person can meet
his basic needs on his own or with help, in which case a conservatorship is not
justified.” (Conservatorship of Walker (1987) 196 Cal.App.3d 1082, 1092–1093
[242 Cal.Rptr. 289].)
• “Our research has failed to reveal any authority for the proposition [that]
without a finding that the proposed conservatee is unable or unwilling to
voluntarily accept treatment, the court must reject a conservatorship in the face
of grave disability. . . . Some persons with grave disabilities are beyond
treatment. Taken to its logical conclusion, they would be beyond the LPS Act’s
reach, according to the argument presented in this appeal.” (Conservatorship of
Symington, supra, 209 Cal.App.3d at p. 1469.)
• “The party seeking imposition of the conservatorship must prove the proposed
conservatee’s grave disability beyond a reasonable doubt and the verdict must
be issued by a unanimous jury.” (Conservatorship of Susan T., supra, 8 Cal.4th
at p. 1009, internal citation omitted.)
Secondary Sources
14 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Wills and Probate, § 945
3Witkin, California Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Actions, § 97
2 California Conservatorship Practice (Cont.Ed.Bar) Ch. 23
32 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 361A, Mental Health and
LANTERMAN-PETRIS-SHORT ACT CACI No. 4000
897
0003
Mental Disabilities: Judicial Commitment, Health Services, and Civil Rights,
§ 361A.30 et seq. (Matthew Bender)
CACI No. 4000 LANTERMAN-PETRIS-SHORT ACT
898
0004