Mental Health Professionals may have a duty to warn concerning the danger presented by their patients.

In Maas v. UPMC, 2018 Pa. Super 195, the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the trial court’s denial of summary judgment to defendants Michelle Barwell, M.D., a psychiatrist and her employer who had failed to warn the neighbors of the danger of their patient who had communicated his intent to kill a neighbor.  He, in fact, ended up murdering his neighbor with a pair of scissors. The defendants had argued that there was no duty to warn because the patient had not specifically identified the neighbor he intended to kill. The Superior Court held that a duty to warn exists when the person at risk is reasonably identifiable. In this instance, the murdered neighbor lived on the same floor of the apartment building as the mental patient.

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