The Texas Supreme Court Speaks

Mental Health Professionals Have No Duty to Warn or Protect Third Parties

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Abstract of Journal Article -- November 2002

By Victor R. Scarano, MD, JD; Cyndi M. Baily, JD, MPH; and James R. Banfield, JD

On June, 24, 1999, the Supreme Court of Texas held that a physician does not have a duty to warn a third party when a patient makes specific threats of harm toward a readily identifiable person. The 77th Texas legislative session that ended in the spring of 2001 did not address the Tarasoff duty to warn or protect a third party. Thus, the current holding in Texas allows that there is no Tarasoff duty to warn or protect a third party. This paper reviews that decision and identifies those occasions when a physician shall warn or may warn and to whom.

November 2002 Texas Medicine Contents
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