May 25, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Threatening Statements Not Protected by Psychologist-Patient Privilege

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re People v. Kailey on Monday, June 23, 2014.

Who May Not Testify Without Consent—CRS § 13-90-107(1)(g)—Civil Liability—Mental Health Providers—Duty to Warn—CRS § 13-21-117(2).

In this original CAR 21 proceeding, the Supreme Court held that if a mental health treatment provider believes that statements made by a patient during a therapy session threaten imminent physical violence against a specific person or persons, and accordingly trigger that provider’s legal duty to warn under CRS §13-21-117(2), the patient’s threatening statements are not protected by the psychologist–patient privilege provided by CRS § 13-90-107(1)(g). Consequently, the Court also held that the trial court erred when it excluded threatening statements made by a patient to a mental health treatment provider on the ground that the statements were barred by the psychologist–patient privilege. The rule was made absolute and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

Summary and full case available here.