Is my loved one a victim of the CBA (Constructive Baker Act)
Hello, everyone! It’s Mark, and welcome back. In this video, I want to talk to you about the CBA or the Constructive Baker Act.
What do I mean by that? Let me take you back to 30 years ago when I was in law school, and I took a real property class with an awesome professor who talked to us about landlord and tenant law. He came to us with the concept of constructive eviction.
The scenario was this, you’ve rented an apartment or a house from somebody, but the landlord doesn’t maintain the property. Maybe the plumbing doesn’t work, leaks inside the property, or the heating or the air conditioning is completely broken. The property becomes unlivable, and so you have no choice but to leave. The whole idea of constructive eviction is as if you’ve been evicted and leaving the property. It’s not that you’ve been physically evicted, no one’s gone to court and got a court order to evict you, but the circumstances and conditions are as if you’ve been evicted. You had to leave because of the circumstances.
I’m talking to you about the Constructive Baker Act in this video. That is a term that I’ve come up with when someone has been Baker acted for all intents and purposes, even though the facility is saying that they haven’t.
This particular case arose when I had a call from a mom whose son had been Baker Acted. According to her, and I believe she was correct, the hospital told her, “Listen, your child is here. He’s not been baker-acted, but he’s not free to leave.” and so she said, “Well then, why is he there?” and they told her that it’s because he’s agreed to stay. He’s revoking his alleged voluntary consent, and he wants to leave. You’ve got 24 hours to let him go from the time that he revokes his consent, and what apparently happened was that twice on two separate occasions, the son had signed paperwork saying he revokes his consent to be there. The hospital asked him, “Are you sure you want to do this? Because if you do, we’re going to involuntarily commit you, which means that we can hold you for up to 72 hours, and then we’re going to go to court and get a court order.” So the family called me, and they were distraught. I said it sounds to me like your son’s been Baker Acted. They said no, the hospital is telling them that their son has not been baker-acted. I said to them that this is known as a Constructive Baker Act. They told me that they have never heard of that term.
I told them that it’s not the statute, and I’m pretty sure that no other lawyers will even tell you about this, but let me tell you how this works. It’s as if your son has been baker-acted. They may not have involuntarily committed him, they may not have gone to court and got a court order, but what they’ve done is, they have coerced and browbeaten him to the point where he’s not only agreed to stay. He has agreed not to revoke his consent, and what that does is it enables the hospital to avoid the whole going to court so that a judge doesn’t have to see and review the kind of shenanigans that they’ve been up to.
What I did was I filed an emergency petition with the court, and I told the court that it was a Constructive Baker Act. The hospital denies that the person has been baker-acted. However, the facts and circumstances all say they have been baker-acted in effect. They may have voluntarily agreed to stay, but they’ve been browbeaten, threatened, and conjolted. That’s not voluntary consent; that’s a Baker Act. The hospital can polish it up and sugarcoat it anywhere they want, but that’s a Baker Act. Ultimately, when we got to court, the hospital realized they’d been caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar, and they let the person go.
This is just sort of another example of the kind of shenanigans and malfeasance that goes on inside Baker Act facilities because they know nobody’s watching them. They know that there’s no oversight and that unless somebody like me comes along, that handles a lot of these cases and knows exactly how this thing works, they know they can get away with it.
If you’ve got a loved one who’s been Baker Acted, time is of the essence. These cases are won or lost really within the first couple of days. If you wait for more, you risk the hospital running to court and getting a court order. Once there’s a court order in place, it’s near impossible to get somebody out.
With that said, thanks for tuning in. See you in the next video.