NEW HAMPSHIRE BOARD OF PSYCHOLOGISTS NEW HAMPSHIRE BOARD OF PSYCHOLOGISTS
ALETHEA E. YOUNG, PH.D.
Argued: April 5, 2016
& Associates, PLC, of Norwich, Vermont (Geoffrey J. Vitt,
Sarah J. Merlo, and Jennifer B. Hartman, on the brief, and
Mr. Vitt orally), and Law Office of Jason Crance, of Hanover
(Jason R. Crance on the brief), for the appellants.
A. Foster, attorney general (Elizabeth A. Lahey, assistant
attorney general, on the brief and orally), for the New
Hampshire Board of Psychologists.
appellants, N.C. and Alethea Young, Ph.D., appeal orders of
the Superior Court (Smukler, J.) denying Dr.
Young's motion to quash a subpoena for N.C. 's
psychological records issued by the appellee, the New
Hampshire Board of Psychologists (Board), and dismissing N.C.
's petition for a declaratory judgment to prevent the
Board from obtaining the records. We affirm.
trial court found, or the record supports, the following
facts. Young is a licensed psychologist in the State of New
Hampshire and maintains a practice in Lyme. N.C. has been a
patient of Young for many years, attending at least two
therapy sessions per week since the age of two. In August
2013, when N.C. was still a minor,  she informed Young that her
father, S.C., had physically and emotionally abused her on
August 8. According to Young, throughout her treatment of
N.C., she witnessed what she described as S.C.'s
aggressive and humiliating treatment of his daughter, both in
public as well as in therapy sessions. Following the August 8
incident, SC and N.C. met with Young for a therapy session on
August 9, during which everyone agreed that N.C. and S.C.
should spend some time apart. All parties agreed that N.C.
would stay at Young's house and that the three would meet
on Saturday, August 10.
the day on Saturday, Young and S.C. communicated via text
message, and Young repeatedly requested that S.C. meet with
her, either alone or with his daughter, to discuss the abuse
that had occurred on August 8. When S.C. tried to arrange to
pick up his daughter later that day, Young stated that she
needed to meet with him before N.C. could return home. Later
that night, Young and Dr. Karla Bourland, who was part of
N.C. 's educational team, dropped N.C. off at a
restaurant in Montpelier, Vermont, where she was picked up by
her mother. N.C. spent the night at her mother's house.
S.C. was not informed of his daughter's whereabouts until
reported the incident that occurred on August 8 to the New
Hampshire Department for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF)
on August 13. She admitted that despite her first-hand
knowledge of S.C.'s abusive behavior, as well as her
increasing concern for N.C. 's safety, she had previously
declined to report the situation to DCYF because she believed
that N.C. would have denied that the abuse took place in
order to protect her father.
's mother sought and received temporary physical custody
of N.C., and S.C. was barred from seeing or contacting his
daughter. S.C. repeatedly requested that Young stop treating
his daughter, but Young continued to do so, with court
September, SC filed a written complaint against Young with
the Board. The complaint alleged that Young had breached her
professional obligations by: (1) becoming personally
over-involved with N.C., thus sacrificing her objectivity;
(2) providing counseling to both S.C. and his daughter, thus
creating an insurmountable conflict of interest; (3)
violating RSA 169-C:29 (2014) by failing to timely report
suspected abuse of a child to DCYF; (4) violating RSA 633:1,
I-a (2007) and 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a) (2012) by detaining
and concealing N.C., who was a minor at the time, from S.C.
when she drove N.C. to Vermont without S.C.'s knowledge
or consent; and (5) failing to respect S.C.'s wishes that
she no longer treat his daughter.
October 3, Young submitted a written response to the Board.
In it, she provided background information about N.C. and the
history of her treatment, and also admitted that she told
S.C. that she would not return N.C. to him until he agreed to
meet with her. She also admitted that she learned of the
abusive incident on August 8, but did not report it to DCYF
until days later. Young stated that Bourland had dropped N.C.
off in Vermont to meet her mother.
on S.C.'s complaint, the Board opened an investigation of
Young. On November 7, the Board issued a subpoena duces
tecum to Young requesting a complete set of records
pertaining to N.C. When Young notified N.C. of the subpoena,
N.C. instructed Young to assert the psychologist-patient
privilege and object to production of the records. Young
moved to quash the subpoena, but the Board denied her motion
and ordered her to produce the records. N.C., through her
mother, sought declaratory relief in the superior court to
prohibit the Board from obtaining the records on the basis of
the psychologist-patient privilege; the Board moved to
dismiss the claim. The Board also filed a petition in
superior court for an order compelling Young to produce the
records, and Young moved to quash the subpoena.
trial court, the appellants argued that the Board must show
just cause to issue a subpoena for privileged records and
must obtain a court order to overcome N.C. 's assertion
of privilege. The Board asserted that, because it was
conducting a formal ...