Thursday, September 24, 2009

Illinois Supreme Court rejects Tarasoff

The Supreme Court of Illinois released an interesting opinion today in which it rejects the reasoning behind the famous case Tarasoff v Regents of the Univ of California. The opinion is available here. In this case, the plaintiffs brought an action seeking damages resulting from the death of a woman who was killed by her husband. The complaint alleged that the defendants, ten healthcare providers, including physicians, psychologists and social workers, negligently provided medical care to the husband and that they had a duty to warn the wife, and to protect her from, the husband’s threats and potential violent acts. In discussing the claim, the Court recognized that Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California is the “most cited” case for holding that a mental-health-care provider owes a duty to warn and protect a nonpatient third party under certain circumstances. However, interpreting its decision in other previous cases, the Court concludes that "it is clear . . . that this court has rejected the rationale of the Tarasoff case."

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