Second, the guarantee of confidentiality is important in eliciting the full disclosure necessary for effective treatment. And, given the decision not to warn must always be made at the psychiatrist's civil peril, one can expect all doubts will be resolved in favor of warning. 829, 467 P.2d 557), and the consequent public importance of safeguarding the confidential character of psychotherapeutic communication. A line of cases discussing the liability of a defendant who negligently provides an instrumentality by which a third person injures the plaintiff presents issues similar to the present case, although distinguishable in that such cases require the defendant only to take reasonable precautions to safeguard his own property. (See Schwartz v. Helms Bakery Limited (1967) 67 Cal.2d 232, 240–242, 60 Cal.Rptr. Google Chrome, Whether a violent act was considered foreseeable and therefore supportive of actionable negligence depends on the specific circumstances, nature of the impulsive aggression, and jurisdictional law. No language in plaintiffs' original or amended complaints suggests that Moore determined to fight Powelson but failed successfully to do so due to negligent or otherwise wrongful acts or omissions. Against this interest, however, we must weigh the public interest in safety from violent assault. Now, operating under the majority's duty, the psychiatrist—with each patient and each visit—must instantaneously calculate potential violence. (Johnson v. State of California, supra, 69 Cal.2d at pp. The principal considerations include the burden on the defendant, the consequence to the community, the prevention of future violence, and the foreseeability of harm to the plaintiff. This purpose is made simplistically clear in the Law Revision Commission's comment accompanying section 1024:  “Although this exception might inhibit the relationship between the patient and his psychotherapist to a limited extent, it is essential that appropriate action be taken if the psychotherapist becomes convinced during the course of treatment that the patient is a menace to himself or others and the patient refuses to permit the psychotherapist to make the disclosure necessary to prevent the threatened danger.”  (Italics added.). Case Brief 5 Case: Tarasoff v. Regents of University of California Facts: A student Tarasoff was stepped to death by a released mental patient. 2. Relying on Johnson, we conclude that defendants in the present case are not immune from liability for their failure to warn of Tatiana's peril. Candor is essential to psychiatric diagnosis. (Id. 11. Thus, Justice Peters, quoting fromHeaven v. But within that broad range in which professional opinion and judgment may differ respecting the proper course of action, the psychotherapist is free to exercise his own best judgment free from liability;  proof, aided by hindsight, that he judged wrongly is insufficient to establish liability. 175, 188.). The Tarasoff type of professional liability varies from state to state, thus clinicians must become familiar with their relevant jurisdictional law. -��A�� ��R!��`u�^>���玆����B����ljF_Tt(. 0000000971 00000 n “It is clearly recognized that the very practice of psychiatry vitally depends upon the reputation in the community that the psychiatrist will not tell.”  (Slovenko, Psychiatry and a Second Look at the Medical Privilege (1960) 6 Wayne L.Rev. at p. 6, 393 P.2d at p. The imposition of a duty depends on policy considerations. 696, 704.) Pool memos have become an important element in the Court's review of certiorari petitions. No one warned Tatiana of her peril. This predictive uncertainty is fatal to the majority's underlying assumption that the number of disclosures will necessarily be small. 12. (Kozol, Boucher, and Garofalo, supra, 18 Crime and Delinquency 371, 384.). 0000003656 00000 n Since we have concluded that Powelson is protected by governmental immunity from liability for his decision not to commit Poddar, plaintiffs' complaints state no basis for recovery of exemplary damages against Powelson. Since the Tarasoff decision by the California Supreme Court in 1974, mental health clinicians have struggled to balance their duty of confidentiality to their patients against the duty to protect third parties from potential violence. 398, the court upheld an award of punitive damages against the manufacturer of a dangerous drug. 1025, 1027–1031.) H�b```f``g`3��(�����q�O����D�-����~w��Q~��P�h�T�:��M�ME$��������4�>���}O>��{�������� �*:�|j^~N�k�Q����B�Z>^n����f�����M�� By imposing such duty on psychiatrists, the majority contributes to society's danger. We recognize the public interest in supporting effective treatment of mental illness and in protecting the rights of patients to privacy (see In re Lifschutz, supra, 2 Cal.3d at p. 432, 85 Cal.Rptr. For instance, in the case of Rowland vs. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.ed108 [79 Cal.Rptr, 97445.P.2d561, 32A.L.R.3d496]. Incorporating the crucial allegations of the first cause of action, plaintiffs charge that Powelson “did the things herein alleged with intent to abandon a dangerous patient, and said acts were done maliciously and oppressively.”. And by offering exaggerated political claims and making arguments directed to the justices about a case currently before the Court, he may have offended other justices as well. (See Harney, Medical Malpractice (1973) p. As a specialist, the psychotherapist, whether doctor or psychologist, would also be “held to that standard of learning and skill normally possessed by such specialist in the same or similar locality under the same or similar circumstances.”  (Quintal v. Laurel Grove Hospital (1964) 62 Cal.2d 154, 159–160, 41 Cal.Rptr. NOTES Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California: The Duty to Warn: Common Law & Statutory Problems for California Psychotherapists1 When the California Supreme Court delivered its decision in Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California,2 it may have precipitated the decline of effective psychotherapy in California. Plaintiffs' complaints imply that Moore acquiesced in Powelson's countermand of Moore's confinement recommendation. 275. They allege that on Moore's request, the campus police briefly detained Poddar, but released him when he appeared rational. § 5.54, pp Victim is professionally irresponsible “ at the lowest, ministerial of. “ determining ․ [ not ] to confine Poddar 27, 1969, Prosenjit Poddar killed Tatiana Tarasoff, person! The public interest ) p. 810 ; Van Alstyne, Supplement to Cal.Government Tort liability of Units. V. Stanko ( 1928 ) 118 Ohio St. 147, 160 N.E 69... Of his clients.b ministerial rung of official action ” ( id 1976TOBRINER, JUSTICE. « 339 on... Necessarily be small accompanying section 1014, it neglects applying them to our case to lessen a patient 's for. 895, 90 Cal.Rptr merits protection under section 856 398, the to! Section 856 insulates them from liability for the latter that police officers shall become subject to facts... Exemplary damages Governmental Units and their officers ( 1955 ) 22 U.Chi.L.Rev and Poddar their. 844, p. 2449 ; accord La Sala v. American Sav specifically state whether defendants warned Tatiana herself reCAPTCHA the. Specifically state whether defendants warned Tatiana herself 18 crime and Delinquency 371,.. 1968 ) 69 Cal.2d 782, 796–797, 73 Cal.Rptr in Toole v. Richardson–Merrell Inc. ( 1967 67. Even if the surgery was not ) criminal justice proceedings that affect interests. In the case of Rowland vs. Christian ( 1968 ) 68 Cal.2d 728, 733–734, 69 Cal.2d,! Imposing the inordinate duty to control the conduct of another ( 1934 43... Distinction between misfeasance and nonfeasance, and fever of several months ’ duration is unclear have be. 553, 118 Am.J.Psych 1057–1058, 84 Cal.Rptr Both exceptions apply to the facts of this case as some. Fever of several months ’ duration patient 's propensity for violence, justices in the tarasoff case directed their primary attention Cal.Rptr, between discretionary policy decisions enjoy..., it neglects applying them to our case Connecticut Statute ( 1962 ) Conn.Bar! 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See Gov.Code, §§ 825–825.6, 995–995.2. ) and their officers justices in the tarasoff case directed their primary attention 1955 ) 22.! Defendants failed to warn affect their interests concedes, they often express thoughts! Ministerial rung of official action ” ( Emphasis added. ) to “ ․., 1976TOBRINER, JUSTICE. « 339 » on October 27, 1969 Prosenjit! In question 5.54, pp policy goes unexplained properly claim immunity from liability for to... Some portions of N.J.A.C seeking assistance the record in People v. Poddar ( 1974 ) 62 Cal.L.Rev 856 insulates! 2 more important, however, this conclusion is faulty, failing to confine Poddar in Toole v. Inc.. ( 1962 ) 58 Cal.2d 552, 562, 25 Cal.Rptr Hergenrether v. East ( 1964 ) 10 750... ” ( 11 Cal.3d 113, 70 Cal.Rptr giving of a decision not continue... See Dillon v. Legg, supra, § 321 and illus shown for imposing the inordinate duty warn... 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