Court of Appeals upholds jury verdict against psychiatrist
Elizabeth Dawe was shot after her psychiatrist allegedly created a therapy group that included a dangerous and inappropriate patient. The Court of Appeals originally dismissed her claim, holding that a state statute providing limited immunity in certain cases involving a third-party's criminal actions. The Supreme Court later held that the statute relied upon by the Court of Appeals was not relevant to a Psychiatrist's duty to provide proper care to the victim, and remanded the case for consideration of the other matters appealed.
During its second analysis of Dawe v. Blue Cross and Reuvan Bar-Levav, the Court of Appeals upheld the jury's verdict against both the treating Psychiatrist and his partner-Psychiatrist wife. The Court found adequate evidence of malpractice by the wife to support the jury's decision and it noted that there is a long-standing recognition in Michigan law that certain criminal acts are foreseeable. Where a "special relationship" exists obligating an employer, psychiatrist or other person to protect the victim, the failure to act reasonably may result in liability for the criminal acts of another.