Settlement of Dispute Involving Impropriety of Mental Health Professional
Opinion rules that an attorney may not participate in the resolution of a civil dispute involving allegations against a psychotherapist of sexual involvement with a patient if the settlement is conditioned upon the agreement of the complaining party not to report the misconduct to the appropriate licensing authority.
Editor's Note: This opinion was originally published as RPC 159 (Second Revision).
Lawyer L frequently represents patients who have civil claims against psychotherapists with whom they have become sexually involved. Such matters, obviously, have implications in regard to the therapist's license and the defense sometimes wishes to keep the allegations confidential.
May attorneys for the plaintiff and the defendant participate in the resolution of such a matter where settlement is conditioned upon the plaintiff's agreeing not to file a complaint against the defendant with the State Board of Medical Examiners or any other appropriate licensing body?
No. It is unethical for the attorney for either party to participate in the resolution of civil claims involving allegations of sexual involvement with patients by a psychotherapist where the settlement is conditioned upon the complaining party's agreement not to report the psychotherapist's misconduct to the appropriate licensing authority. See Rule 1.2(d).