Plaintiff in this case was a 45-year-old woman who suffered from a severe neurological and psychological disorder stemming from previous malpractice of an out-of-state physician. Plaintiff sought psychopharmacological treatment with defendant. Plaintiff alleged that defendant negligently convinced plaintiff to begin talk therapy instead of psychopharmacology, improperly changed plaintiff’s long standing effective medication regime, participated in multiple boundary violations including seeing the plaintiff at her home, hugging her and providing her with relaxation tapes where she was supposed to relax by thinking of hugging and touching the defendant.
The defense alleged that, although the defendant’s psychotherapy techniques were unusual, they did not amount to a breach of the standard of care, that the touching did not occur as the plaintiff claimed, that plaintiff suffered from severe mental and neurological disorders before ever meeting the defendant and her condition was not in any way worsened by the defendant and, that despite a claimed wage loss, plaintiff was not working because she chose not to rather than any psychological disability.
The law offices of Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, obtained the relaxation tapes and records of defendant and hired two experts, who agreed that the doctor had clearly breached the boundaries of treatment and that plaintiff’s preexisting condition was aggravated.
This case represents one of the largest settlements in California for a non-sexual malpractice case against a psychiatrist.
RESULT: $500,000 settlement for the plaintiff