I was recently served with a subpoena for deposition in a federal lawsuit where a former counseling client is suing a local foster care agency. The subpoena was issued by the attorney who is representing the foster care agency. I have contacted the attorney's office, and was told by the paralegal that this is a client who I saw while I working for a local counseling agency (which is no longer in business), which was over 10 years ago. The paralegal also stated they had possession of case notes from my sessions working with this child.
I am a licensed mental health therapist and I have confidentiality laws to which I must adhere. It is not appropriate for me to give testimony or discuss a former client's time in counseling with me without either written consent from the client/client's guardian (who I have no contact with at this point) or without a court order.
This can be a relatively complicated area of law. You would likely not serve yourself well by trying to handle the situation without an attorney. I don't believe that there is any prohibition by you presenting the matter to the judge, but, again, any non-lawyer involved in court matters will be at a disadvantage the entire time where the other side is represented by an attorney.
I would say yes you need an attorney. I would think that the attorney representing the child would be right there objecting with your same points. Of course if the client releases you from the confidentially in writingyou can testify. Good luck.
Advice given in this forum does not create an attorney - client relationship. No advice should be relied on without consulting with a local attorney.
Do you need an attorney to file a motion to quash the subpoena? In theory no. In fact, you will be making arguments that will not be decided just by looking at the language of a statute and could be subtle.
You need a lawyer, both for the Motion to Quash, and, if not granted, to cover you at the deposition to make proper objections.
This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Unless you are already a client of the Mallory Law Group, pursuant to a fully executed employment agreement, you should not use, interpret, or rely upon this response as legal advice or opinion. Do not act on any information in this e-mail without seeking legal advice.
This can be a problematic issue for therapists, especially when you add in the implications of HIPAA and the fact that there may be issues swirling around that you are blind to that could cause you to find yourself in a bind inadvertently, You would be wise to retain counsel and do what you can to make sure your interests are protected and if need to be to make sure any exposures are limited.
Responses provided represent entirely un-researched, casual opinions and cannot be relied upon in any way or manner as legal advice. No communication here is intended to establish an attorney-client relationship.
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