City of Newark v. J.S.
New Jersey Superior Court
279 N.J. Super. 178, 652 A.2d 265 (1993)
JS (defendant) was a 40-year-old homeless man with tuberculosis (TB), a communicable disease caused by a bacterium that spread most commonly through airborne droplets projected by coughing or sneezing. JS failed to follow infection-control guidelines or take proper medication for his TB while he was in the hospital. JS failed to follow the treatment regimen after his release to a homeless shelter, missed a scheduled TB clinic appointment, and was labeled noncompliant. JS returned to the hospital and his sputum sample confirmed that his TB was active and contagious to others. The hospital authorities asked the City of Newark (the city) (plaintiff) to keep JS from leaving the hospital against medical advice during his treatment for active TB. The city filed a complaint with the emergent duty judge, who granted a temporary civil-commitment order according to a New Jersey infection-control statute. The city sought a final order civilly committing JS to a local hospital to treat his active TB until he showed three negative sputum tests and was no longer an actual menace to the community. The trial court held a commitment hearing to address the due-process rights of JS under the New Jersey statutory scheme that allowed for the involuntary civil commitment of persons with active TB to protect the public health.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Goldman, J.)
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