Advertising Disclosure Email Disclosure

Psychologist/psychiatrist-patient privilege extends to communications with entire facility, and attorney-client privilege covers notes a client takes at direction of attorney.

January 3, 2017
Farrell v. Regola, 2016 Pa Super 241, 2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 648 (Pa. Super., Nov. 8, 2016)

In a discovery response, the defendant asserted that she sought counseling related to the incident giving rise to the case. The plaintiff followed up with a request that she give the name and relevant information for her treatment. Because all therapy was conducted in a facility operated by a licensed psychologist, all communications with the entire team were privileged. That included those sessions where therapy was given by a licensed clinical social worker (that is, not a psychologist). The court noted that a psychologist/psychiatrist-patient privilege enjoys the same scope as the attorney-client privilege and reiterated the settled principle that all communications with an agent of the professional, such as an attorney’s paralegal or a psychologist’s staff member—regardless of title—are protected. In addition, the court ruled on the attorney-client privilege, concluding that handwritten notes taken by the client during a criminal trial and during proceedings in the civil matter, at his lawyer’s behest, and which were given to the lawyer so that the lawyer can help defend the client in the suit, are absolutely privileged.

 

Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2017. Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2017 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

Before you send this email please note:

You are attempting to send email, through a link on our website, to an attorney of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin or an employee in our firm. Please note that your email may not be treated as confidential and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon the transmission of an email through this website if you are seeking to enter into such a relationship. Until such time as we have agreed to represent you, no information in your email will be treated as confidential. Please contact us directly by telephone at 1.800.220.3308 if it is your intent to seek legal counsel with our firm or convey confidential information.

If it is still your intent to send this email, knowing that it may not be treated as confidential, you may accept our terms of agreement by pressing "OK". If you choose not to accept these terms of agreement you may navigate away from this page by pressing "Cancel."