Ryan v. Ruize

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed an order of the Court of Common Pleas that permitted the defendant’s licensed clinical social worker to testify about a statement he made during a counseling session. The defendant described to his social worker ways that he could kill his estranged wife in her home and make it look like an accident. In response, the social worker called the defendant’s wife, who immediately filed for a protection from abuse order. At the final hearing on that petition, the wife sought to call the social worker to testify about the threats, and the defendant objected. The wife claimed that the statement did not qualify as a privileged communication under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5944 because the statement constituted a credible threat to seriously harm another. The trial court overruled the objection and ruled that Section 5944 did not apply because the witness was a social worker, not a therapist. The Superior Court affirmed and refused to extend the § 5944 privilege to a licensed clinical social worker working independently, as was the case instantly. And the Superior Court otherwise agreed with the trial court’s analysis.

Search entire site by keyword...

Search for Summaries by Hashtag...

Past Opinion Summaries