Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

N.C. v. New Hampshire Board of Psychologists

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

September 20, 2016

N.C.
v.
NEW HAMPSHIRE BOARD OF PSYCHOLOGISTS NEW HAMPSHIRE BOARD OF PSYCHOLOGISTS
v.
ALETHEA E. YOUNG, PH.D.

          Argued: April 5, 2016

         Merrimack

          Vitt & 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.

          Joseph A. Foster, attorney general (Elizabeth A. Lahey, assistant attorney general, on the brief and orally), for the New Hampshire Board of Psychologists.

          LYNN, J.

         The 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.

         I

         The 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, [1] 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.

         Throughout 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 Sunday morning.

         Young 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.

          N.C. '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 approval.

         In 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.

         On 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.

         Based 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.

         In the 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.