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Landmark Cases

Case Name: Carrie JAFFEE v. Mary Lu REDMOND

Date, Location, Cite: 1996 IL
116 S.Ct. 1923

Redmond was a security guard, killed Allen as an intruder, a mistake. She saw Beyer, a SW for therapy after the shooting. The trial court ordered therapy notes, overriding arguments about psychotherapist-patient privilege. They refused, and at trial the jury was told they could assume the notes showed bad things. The Court of Appeals said Fed Rule 501 recognized the privilege. The Supreme Court Agreed, saying:Therapist-patient privilege is protected, and this is an evolving part of the law..."[t]he mental health of the Nation... is a public good of transcendent importance."

First federal recognition of psychotherapist-patient privilege in unequivocal terms.