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Vickrey Obtains Dismissal with Prejudice in Mental Health Confidentiality Act Lawsuit

May 16, 2022

Johnson & Bell Attorney, Caroline K. Vickrey, obtained dismissal with prejudice of all claims against her psychologist client in a lawsuit filed under the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act.  The Cook County lawsuit was filed in the Law Division by a recipient of mental health services who, along with other family members, received joint family therapy as part of her post-decree litigation after her divorce.  Plaintiff alleged that the defendant psychologist made unauthorized disclosures of confidential mental health information when she spoke to the Court’s Professional custody evaluator, the Guardian ad Litem, and her fellow therapists about plaintiff’s interactions at the joint therapy session.  At the center of the lawsuit was an order entered by Circuit Court Judge Ellen Flannigan, in which she discharged the Court’s Professional for violating the strict confidentiality provisions of Section 607.6 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), and barred her report from evidence. Plaintiff used this Order as a springboard for her own claims of injury to argue that her confidential information had been shared without her consent. This was a case of first impression under the Confidentiality Act, and Vickrey successfully argued that her client was exempted from liability under the interdisciplinary team exception within the Act. 

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