n o t e s
1. professional risk management: an overview
1. Unless otherwise noted, all references to the NASW Code of Ethics are to the
2008 edition, which is the most recent.
2. See “Patient Falls to Death” (1995:2), “Psychiatric Nurse Hangs Self ” (1995:4),
and “Woman Claims Improper Sexual Conduct” (1996:3) for additional dis-
cussion of comparative negligence.
3. Readers should be aware that lower-court decisions do not constitute legal
precedents that are necessarily applicable in other court cases. Only appellate
cases are controlling in this way. Nevertheless I have included a number of
lower-court decisions that provide valuable illustrations of conceptual points
addressed throughout the book.
2. confidentiality and privileged communication
1. Many practitioners refer to Tarasoff as the “duty to warn” case. In fact this
phrase is misleading. The court noted practitioners’ duty to protect, not their
duty to warn. Warning a potential victim is one way, but not the only way, to
protect potential victims. Notifying law enforcement officials of a threat and
seeking psychiatric hospitalization of a dangerous client are other ways practi-
tioners can attempt to protect potential victims. Tarasoff is better described as
the “duty to protect” case that led to current confidentiality standards.
2. The original Tarasoff case was decided by the California Supreme Court in
1974. The court then withdrew its first published opinion and in 1976 issued its
second opinion, commonly known as Tarasoff II, which recognized a duty to
protect third parties under certain circumstances.
3. Also see “Patient’s Threats Disclosed” (1993); “Psychiatrist and Psycholo-
gist Revealed Patient’s Threat” (1995); “Psychologists Owed Duty to Protect