Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tarasoff v. Regents of University of California case brief

Tarasoff v. Regents of University of California case brief
1976 California Supreme 
Facts: Moore was a psychologist who was seeing Poddar. He learned that Poddar planned to kill Tarasoff because she rejected Poddar; he learned this during treatment of Poddar. Moore had police detain Poddar but he was released and no other action was taken. Poddar ended up shooting and killing Tarasoff. 
Decision: Lower ct ruled for defendants, California supreme amended complaint to allow for a cause of action against defendants 
Reasoning: Generally there is no duty under common law to control or protect another however courts created an exception for special relationships where defendant stands in a special relationship to either person whose conduct needs to be controlled or a foreseeable victim of such conduct. This exception seems to apply to doctors who must warn or control a patient who is a danger to others. Generally duty extended when doctors had a special relationship to both the patient and the foreseeable victim but that and was taken out here for fairness and safety purposes. Want therapists to exercise reasonable degree of skill, knowledge, and care ordinarily possessed and exercised by members of that specialty under similar circumstances. Social policy  considerations state that it is in the publics greater good 

Holding: A defendant has a duty to inform a foreseeable victim of harm where a person can or should recognize a foreseeable victim of harm when a similar person in exercising a reasonable degree of skill, knowledge, and care ordinarily possessed and exercising by members of that specialty under similar circumstances would recognize that harm. 

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