Tort Law

Psychiatrist Had Duty to Warn Patient's Spouse of Herpes Risk from Doctor-Patient Affair


A psychiatrist allegedly infected with the herpes simplex virus had a duty to warn his patient’s spouse before allegedly having unprotected sex with the patient, a New York judge has ruled.

Upholding the husband’s right to bring a negligence suit for the alleged breach of duty by the psychiatrist, Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Nicholas Colabella said extending the doctor’s common-law duty to warn in this manner involves only “a narrowly defined class of persons,” reports the New York Law Journal. Its article is reprinted in New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

The doctor’s claimed herpes and the claimed affair with his patient must still be proved at trial before the husband can prevail in the tort case.

Attorney Bruce Brady of Callahan Koster Brady & Brennan represents the psychiatrist. He says he plans to appeal the duty-to-warn ruling and expects to resolve the case on its merits.

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