Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


Despite the almost universal familiarity of mental health professionals with the Tarasoff case, many questions regarding its associated legal requirements often arise when evaluating potentially dangerous patients. The principles of the duty to warn/protect, while appearing nebulous at times, contain key concepts that the clinician must consider in the face of potential danger to third parties. This article reviews the landmark decision of the Tarasoff case and outlines its key concepts. In addition, given that state jurisdictions vary in treatment of Tarasoff-like cases, this article explores the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, Emerich v. Philadelphia Center for Human Development, Inc.

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