Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Litigation, Quarantine/Isolation

NOTE: this is a very complex area of law, especially as it relates to stay-at-home orders issued by the states.  Please read our primer on quarantine/isolation law before reading this specific state law.





One New York court ruled that indigent persons have a due process right to have counsel assigned in an involuntary hospitalization proceeding for disease since their liberty is in jeopardy.  Rapoport v. G.M., 657 N.Y.S.2d 748, 748-49 (App. Div. 1997) (addressing rights for involuntary hospitalization under N.Y. Pub. Health Law § 2120 for communicable disease).  The court cited to both Lassiter and to Rivers v. Katz, 495 N.E.2d 337 (N.Y. 1986).  As a decision of only one of the intermediate courts of NY, it would not be precedent for the entire state.


Outside of the context of commitment to the state's custody for communicable disease, NY CLS Pub Health § 2100(2) provides that "Every local board of health and every health officer may: (a) provide for care and isolation of cases of communicable disease in a hospital or elsewhere when necessary for protection of the public health..."  It is unclear whether Rapoport would cover a scenario where an individual is quarantined or isolated to a place other than a state hospital (such as their home).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes