Melanna Marcellot v. Exempla, Inc. d/b/a Exempla West Pines, 2012COA200 (November 8, 2012)

The treatment of mental health patients is, by all accounts, stressful. One source of stress can be the potential that a patient might become violent and harm others. For the provider, the threat of lawsuits arising from patient behavior could impose significant costs. To address this, the legislature generally granted mental health providers immunity from civil actions claiming a failure to ward or protect any person. In this case, a visiting psychiatric educator entered a facility with students and was told that no patients presented a special risk. She was then assaulted by a patient. She sued the provider. The trial court granted the hospital’s motion to dismiss under the immunity statute. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting her arguments that the statute did not apply to her situation, or that it only applied to outpatients. The case was dismissed.


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Filed under Appellate Review Challenged, Personal Injury, Torts

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