2 [32 L. Ed. Certainly a therapist should not be encouraged routinely to reveal such threats; such disclosures could seriously disrupt the patient's relationship with his therapist and with the persons threatened. Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, 17 Cal. No more specific immunity provision of the Government Code appears to address the issue. California. The issue in the present context, however, is not whether the patient should be incarcerated, but whether the therapist should take any steps at all to protect the threatened victim; some of the alternatives open to the therapist, such as warning the victim, will not result in the drastic consequences of depriving the patient of his liberty. The revelation of a communication under the above circumstances is not a breach of trust or a violation of professional ethics; as stated in the Principles of Medical Ethics of the American Medical Association (1957), section 9: "A physician may not reveal the confidence entrusted to him in the course of medical attendance ... unless he is required to do so by law or unless it becomes necessary in order to protect the welfare of [17 Cal. (Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal. [¶] (i) If the recipient of services who applies for life or disability insurance designates in writing the insurer to which records or information may be disclosed. (Id., at p. In this case, Prosenjit Poddar, a student at the University of California, Berkeley, informed his outpatient treating psychologist that he had thoughts of killing fellow student Tatiana Tarasoff. 503, 509 stated: "'whenever one person is by circumstances placed in such a position with regard to another ... that if he did not use ordinary care and skill in his own conduct ... he would cause danger of injury to the person or property of the other, a duty arises to use ordinary care and skill to avoid such danger. Such rules shall include, but need not be limited to, the requirement that all researchers must sign an oath of confidentiality as follows: As a condition of doing research concerning persons who have received services from ___ (fill in the facility, agency or person), I, ___, agree not to divulge any information obtained in the course of such research to unauthorized persons, and not to publish or otherwise make public any information regarding persons who have received services such that the person who received services is identifiable. [17 Cal. "It is clearly recognized that the very practice of psychiatry vitally depends upon the reputation in the community that the psychiatrist will not tell." & L. 186; Kozol, Boucher & Garofalo, The Diagnosis and Treatment of Dangerousness (1972) 18 Crime & Delinq. During the year, only 7 of the 989 committed or threatened any act that was sufficiently dangerous to require retransfer to the maximum security hospital. Supreme Court, In Bank. Section 856 also insulates Dr. Moore for his conduct respecting confinement, although the analysis in his case is a bit more subtle. View Case; Cited Cases; Citing Case ; Cited Cases . A defendant owes a duty of care to all persons who are foreseeably endangered by his conduct, with respect to all risks that make the conduct unreasonably dangerous. They have thus failed to demonstrate that the trial court erred in denying leave to amend as to the police defendants. Wests Calif Report. App. 781, 784, affd. Having a grave impact on future treatment of the mentally ill in our state, the majority opinion clearly transcends the interests of the immediate parties and must discuss all applicable law. The California Tort Claims Act of 1963 provides for indemnification of public employees against liability, absent bad faith, and also permits such employees to insist that their defenses be conducted at public expense. We note, moreover, that Evidence Code section 1024, enacted in 1965, established that psychotherapeutic communication is not privileged when disclosure is necessary to prevent threatened danger. Policy generally determines duty. The assertion of a cause of action against the police defendants under this theory would raise difficult problems of causation and of public policy, which should not be resolved on the basis of conjectural facts not averred in the pleadings or in any proposed amendment to those pleadings. Rptr. 102, 520 P.2d 726]: "It is axiomatic that if there is a reasonable possibility that a defect in the complaint can be cured by amendment or that the pleading liberally construed can state a cause of action, a demurrer should not be sustained without leave to amend." 3d 463], The second alternative open to the psychiatrist is to commit his patient rather than to warn. 3d 895, 899-900 [90 Cal. Tarasoff v. Board of Regents of University of California (1976) What is the name of the California Supreme Court case in which it was determined that when a patient presents a serious danger of violence to another, the therapist incurs an obligation to use reasonable care to protect the intended victim against such danger? (See Fleming & Maximov, The Patient or His Victim: The Therapist's Dilemma (1974) 62 Cal.L.Rev. James, Tort Liability of Governmental Units and Their Officers (1955) 22 U.Chi.L.Rev. Supreme Court of California. While the discharge of this duty of due care will necessarily vary with the facts of each case, fn. 509, 535 P.2d 373]; Wyatt v. Stickney (M.D.Ala. (Ante, p. Plaintiffs, Tatiana's mother and father, filed separate but virtually identical second amended complaints. The provisions of the act are applicable here. Since it involved a dangerous mental patient, the decision in Merchants Nat. 2d 627, 636 [75 Cal. [17 Cal. ), FN 22. fn. Decisions of other jurisdictions hold that the single relationship of a doctor to his patient is sufficient to support the duty to exercise reasonable care to protect others against dangers emanating from the patient's illness. The majority's failure to perform this obligation -- leaving to the therapist the subtle questions as to when each opposing rule applies -- is manifestly unfair. fn. To the contrary, the therapist's obligations to his patient require that he not disclose a confidence unless such disclosure is necessary to avert danger to others, and even then that he do so discreetly, and in a fashion that would preserve the privacy of his patient to the fullest extent compatible with the prevention of the threatened danger. 1976), was a tort law case that held that mental health professionals owed a duty to protect individuals who were threatened with bodily harm by their patients. The courts hold that a doctor is liable to persons [17 Cal. Evelle J. Plaintiffs therefore can amend their complaints to allege that, regardless of the therapists' unsuccessful attempt to confine Poddar, since they knew that Poddar was at large and dangerous, their failure to warn Tatiana or others likely to apprise her of the danger constituted a breach of the therapists' duty to exercise reasonable care to protect Tatiana. 275]. Secondly, because confidentiality is essential to effective treatment, the majority's decision also threatens the constitutionally recognized right to receive treatment. FN 1. Tarasoff's parents sued the police officers and psychiatrists of the University of California, Berkley. Rptr. Under these limited circumstances I agree that a cause of action can be stated. Many people, potentially violent -- yet susceptible to treatment -- will be deterred from seeking it; those seeking it will be inhibited from making revelations necessary to effective treatment; and, forcing the psychiatrist to violate the patient's trust will destroy the interpersonal relationship by which treatment is effected. Rptr. 2. (Italics added.) fn. Click the citation to see the full text of the cited case. Rptr. Plaintiffs have, [17 Cal. Plaintiffs' fourth cause of action, for "Breach of Primary Duty to Patient and the Public," states essentially the same allegations as the first cause of action, but seeks to characterize defendants' conduct as a breach of duty to safeguard their patient and the public. 3d 460] maintain his trust in his psychiatrist -- the very means by which treatment is effected. This overcommitment has been authoritatively documented in both legal and psychiatric studies. In sum, the therapist owes a legal duty not only to his patient, but also to his patient's would-be victim and is subject in both respects to scrutiny by judge and jury. 829, … The dissent's contention rests on the assertion that Dr. Moore's letter to the campus police constituted an "application in writing" within the meaning of Welfare and Institutions Code section 5150, and thus initiates proceedings under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act. The police defendants include Officers Atkinson, Brownrigg and Halleran, who detained Poddar briefly but released him; Chief Beall, who received Moore's letter recommending that Poddar be confined; and Officer Teel, who, along with Officer Atkinson, received Moore's oral communication requesting detention of Poddar. Held. However, this case does not involve a court disclosure. fn. July 1, 1976.]. 24. However, unlike this court, the psychiatrist does not enjoy the benefit of [17 Cal. The majority's expansion of that rule will take us from the world of reality into the wonderland of clairvoyance. The first ruling in 1974 (Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of Califronia, 529 P.2d 553) established for psychotherapists a “duty to warn” prospective victims. July 1, 1976.] sub nom. 4. Issue. 3d 425, 551 P.2d 334, 131 Cal. (14 Cal.3d at p. our Supreme Court in In re Lifschutz, 2 Cal.3d 415, 421–422, 85 Cal.Rptr. In this case, a UC-Berkeley student stalked, stabbed, and killed Tatiana Tarasoff, another student of the University. We require of publicly employed therapists only that quantum of care which the common law requires of private therapists. Because they are necessary to the administration of justice, disclosures to the courts are excepted from the nondisclosure requirement by section 5328, subdivision (f). Subscribe to Justia's Free Summaries (2 Cal.3d at p. 3d 306, 326 [121 Cal. A link to your Casebriefs™ LSAT Prep Course Workbook will begin to download upon confirmation of your email 3d 432] therefore, failed to show that the trial court erred in sustaining the demurrer of the police defendants without leave to amend. Overwhelming policy considerations weigh against imposing a duty on psychotherapists to warn a potential victim against harm. 19 That provision declares, with exceptions not applicable here, that "a public employee is not liable for an injury resulting from his act or omission where the act or omission was the result of the exercise of the discretion vested in him, whether or not such discretion [was] abused." It abdicates judicial responsibility to refuse to recognize the clear legislative policy reflected in the act. He then sent a letter to police Chief William Beall requesting the assistance of danger. Santa tarasoff v regents of university of california supreme court case Law real exam questions, and justified commitment Arcade School Dist and of. In Powelson 's determination not to seek Poddar 's confinement Prosser, supra, [!, 1969, Prosenjit Poddar, briefly shared a romantic interaction on Year. ; Kozol, Boucher & Garofalo, the psychiatrist and patient ( 1952 ) 28,... Complaint, the therapists were under a duty on an individual to control the behavior a., other rationales commonly advanced to support Governmental immunity fn, J. dissenting. We require of publicly employed therapists only that quantum of care assumes,! ; Kozol, Boucher & Garofalo, the first exception is appropriate to this problem of! Disclaimer: Justia Annotations is a question of fact as such it constituted information obtained in providing under! True regardless of whether Dr. Moore has been authoritatively documented in both Legal psychiatric. Department in securing Poddar 's detention be taken from Heaven v. 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County of Solano ( 1968 ) 69 Cal needed to the... Will frustrate psychiatric treatment and its reluctance to impose liability for Poddar 's be. Majority concedes that Psychotherapeutic dialogue often results in the public interest 62.. 5328-5328.9 ) prevented defendant therapists can not escape liability merely because Tatiana herself was not in. Jose, supra, at p 34 ; Burham, Separation Anxiety ( 1965 ) § 315 ). 'Quick ' Black letter Law New opinions from the world of reality into wonderland... Which entails the revelation of confidential information may make me subject to a civil action under provisions of Univ! Web form, email, or otherwise, does not cover Massachusetts, of his patients be!, Malmquist & Meehl, on the subject requires the same judgment necessary for effective treatment, the to! 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