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Name: Rademan v. Superior Court (Los Angeles County)
Case #: B143617
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 01/22/2001
Subsequent History: Review denied 4/11/01 and Reporter of Decisions directed not to publish this opinion in the Official Reports

The Court of Appeal here granted a psychotherapist’s writ to vacate the trial court’s order releasing his files relating to two patients to the Medical Board of California, Department of Consumer Affairs. Here, a pharmacist had filed a complaint with the medical board that the psychotherapist had been prescribing unusually large quantities of drugs and controlled substances to two patients. The medical board issued a subpoena duces tecum for the files of the two patients involved. The psychotherapist unsuccessfully resisted, and as a result, filed a writ. The Court of Appeal here held that to the extent the crime-tort exception applies, the psychotherapist-patient privilege is unavailable and any information within the exception contained in the two patient’s files may be made available to the medical board. The crime-tort exception applies to crimes committed by either the psychotherapist, the patient, or both, and the test to satisfy to order in camera review requires an objectively reasonable factual basis amounting to a prima face case demonstrating than an exception to the privilege applies. The Court of Appeal found the evidence here regarding one patient more than sufficient to trigger in camera review. While the court found that the evidence was less clear as to the second patient, the court found it was still sufficient to trigger in camera review. The appellate court ordered the trial court to conduct the review of the files of each of two patients to determine the applicability of the crime exception as it may be applied in this case, and to appoint, if necessary, a medical expert to assist it.