This comment discusses the difficulties with regard to discovery in cases where a victim of violence claims a psychotherapist should have determined that a patient/assailant was dangerous and warned the victim. The author begins by describing the problem, which exists because a plaintiff will have trouble getting evidence to prove his case because the therapist-patient communications are privileged and unlike Tara off , the therapist has not yet predicted violence. The author then examines several procedural devices that might be used to overcome this problem including waiver, the patient-litigant exception, breach of duty exception, and the dangerous patient exception. Next the author addresses the mechanics of deciding the privilege issue. The author concludes that the dangerous-patient exception is the appropriate vehicle for discovery suits in these situations, although the others may also be useful.
Alexander J. Olander,
Discovery of Psychotherapist-Patient Communications after Tarasoff,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol15/iss2/4