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John E. Rennie v. Ann Klein (Rennie I)
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
462 F. Supp. 1131 (1978)
John E. Rennie (plaintiff), a highly intelligent individual and pilot, began experiencing mental health issues in 1973 after his twin brother died in a plane crash. As of that date, Rennie was voluntarily and involuntarily institutionalized on at least 12 occasions at Ancora Psychiatric State Hospital in New Jersey. Rennie sued Ann Klein (defendant), commissioner of the Division of Mental Health and Hospitals at Ancora, for forced administration of the antipsychotic drug Prolixin, which causes the permanent side effects of involuntary facial movements and muscle activity. Antipsychotic medication is the accepted and most effective course of treatment for schizophrenia. However, the best course of treatment for bipolar disorder is lithium and an antidepressant. There was no consensus on Rennie’s exact diagnosis, which was either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Rennie was found to be competent and refused to be treated with antipsychotic medication due to the side effects but was amenable to lithium and an antidepressant. Ancora treated Rennie with antipsychotic medication without his consent due to his suicidal and homicidal behavior.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Brotman, J.)
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