Raymond Dale Berryhill, who had suffered a stroke and other health problems, became agitated and fought with his wife. His family persuaded him to go to the emergency room at Parkview Hospital (“Parkview”), where he voluntarily checked himself in and underwent some medical tests. Berryhill became loud and aggressive. Berryhill’s physician was concerned that he might be a danger to himself or others, so he ordered him to be taken to a secured room and sedated. Two Parkview security guards tried to calm Berryhill down, but he resisted and demanded to go home, so they escorted him to the secured room and placed him in restraints. After Berryhill’s outburst, his wife filed an application for Berryhill to be detained and examined at Parkview Behavioral Health, from which he was released two days later.
Berryhill sued Parkview, alleging that the security guards’ actions constituted false imprisonment. The trial court concluded that Parkview was immune from liability based on a statute that covers persons who assist in detentions. Berryhill now appeals, claiming that the immunity statute does not apply because he was not detained for purposes of the statute until after his wife filed the application for detention. We disagree with Berryhill and affirm the trial court’s judgment.
The gist of Berryhill’s claim against Parkview is false imprisonment, which has been defined as “the unlawful restraint upon one’s freedom of movement or the deprivation of one’s liberty without consent.” Earles v. Perkins, 788 N.E.2d 1260, 1265 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003). [Footnote omitted.] Berryhill argues that the trial court erred in finding that “[t]here was very little evidence submitted by either party” regarding his alleged attempt to leave the hospital before he was restrained by the security guards. Appellant‟s App. at 23. We agree with Berryhill on this point. Kay testified that Berryhill “was going to leave” the hospital, Tr. at 10, as did one of the security guards, and Berryhill swore out an affidavit to this effect. Parkview did not offer any contrary evidence. [Footnotes omitted.] As such, the evidence is undisputed that Berryhill attempted to leave the hospital but was restrained by Parkview’s security guards.
The question then becomes whether Berryhill was unlawfully restrained. [Footnote omitted.] After Berryhill’s outburst in the emergency room, Kay signed an application for detention pursuant to Indiana Code Section 12-26-5-1, which says:
(a) An individual may be detained in a facility for not more than seventy-two (72) hours under this chapter, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, if a written application for detention is filed with the facility. The individual may not be detained in a state institution unless the detention is instituted by the state institution.
(b) An application under subsection (a) must contain both of the following:
(1) A statement of the applicant’s belief that the individual is:
(A) mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled; [Footnote omitted.] and
(B) in need of immediate restraint.
(2) A statement by at least one (1) physician that, based on:
(A) an examination; or
(B) information given the physician;
the individual may be mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled.
Indiana Code Section 12-26-2-6 provides:
(a) A person who without malice, bad faith, or negligence acts according to this article and:
(1) participates in proceedings for the detention or commitment of an individual; or
(2) assists in the detention, care, and treatment of an individual alleged or adjudged to have a mental illness;
is immune from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be imposed as a result of the person’s actions.
(b) The immunity provided by this section does not permit a person to do either of the following:
(1) Physically abuse an individual.
(2) Deprive an individual of a personal or civil right except according to this article.
In its amended judgment, the trial court determined that Parkview was entitled to immunity from Berryhill’s false imprisonment claim pursuant to Indiana Code Section 12-26-2-6 because Berryhill failed to establish that Parkview (through its employees, the security guards) acted with malice, bad faith, or negligence, presumably while “act[ing] according to” Indiana Code Article 12-26 and “assist[ing] in the detention, care, and treatment” of Berryhill.
Berryhill does not challenge the legality of the detention itself. [Footnote omitted.] Rather, Berryhill contends that he was illegally restrained before he was detained pursuant to Indiana Code Section 12-26-5-1. More specifically, Berryhill argues that he could not have been detained before the application for detention was filed, which did not occur until after he was restrained by the security guards.12 In other words, Berryhill argues that a person cannot be considered detained for purposes of Indiana Code Section 12-26-5-1 until after an application is filed. Similarly, Berryhill contends that Parkview is not entitled to immunity pursuant to Indiana Code Section 12-26-2-6 because he was restrained before he was detained for purposes of Indiana Code Section 12-26-5-1. We disagree.
We have said that our objective when construing a statute
is to ascertain and give effect to the legislative intent and to interpret the statute in such a manner as to prevent absurdity and to advance public convenience. In so doing, we must be mindful of the purpose of the statute, as well as the effect of such an interpretation. We presume that our legislature intended its language be applied in a logical manner consistent with the underlying goals and policy of the statute.
KPMG, Peat Marwick, LLP v. Carmel Fin. Corp., 784 N.E.2d 1057, 1060 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003) (citations omitted). We have also said that
[s]tatutes relating to the same general subject matter are in pari materia and should be construed together so as to produce a harmonious statutory scheme. Courts are not bound to adopt a construction that would lead to manifest absurdity in order that the strict letter of the statute may be adhered to. They will rather look to the intention of the legislature, as gathered from the import of the whole act, and will carry out such intention as thus obtained.
Homestead Fin. Corp. v. Southwood Manor LP, 956 N.E.2d 183, 184-85 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011) (citation omitted). Moreover, “[i]t can be just as important to recognize what a statute does not say as to recognize what it does say.” Town of Dyer v. Town of St. John, 919 N.E.2d 1196, 1202 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010). The construction of a statute is a pure question of law. Pannell v. Penfold, 848 N.E.2d 1130, 1132 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006), trans. denied.
Reduced to its essence, Indiana Code Section 12-26-5-1(a) says that “[a]n individual may be detained in a facility for not more than seventy-two (72) hours … if a written application for detention is filed with the facility.” (Emphasis added.) Notably, the statute does not say that an individual may not be detained until after a written application for detention is filed. Indeed, the statute does not specify when the written application must be filed. In this case, the application for detention was based primarily on the very behavior that led to Berryhill being restrained by Parkview’s security guards. We cannot conclude that the legislature intended to leave healthcare facilities and their employees powerless to detain individuals who are mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled before an application for detention is filed. As such, without deciding precisely when Berryhill was detained for purposes of Indiana Code Section 12-26-5-1, we conclude that the security guards “act[ed] according to” Indiana Code Article 12-26, which governs the voluntary and involuntary treatment of mentally ill individuals, and “assist[ed] in the detention, care, and treatment of an individual alleged … to have a mental illness” for purposes of Indiana Code Section 12-26-2-6(a). There is no evidence that the guards acted with malice, bad faith, or negligence (or physically abused Berryhill or deprived him of a personal or civil right except according to Indiana Code Article 12-26), and therefore we conclude that Parkview is entitled to immunity from Berryhill’s false imprisonment claim. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s judgment in favor of Parkview. [Footnote omitted.]
MAY, J., and BROWN, J., concur.