2014 California Code
Civil Code - CIV
DIVISION 1 - PERSONS
PART 2 - PERSONAL RIGHTS
(a) For the purposes of this section the following definitions are applicable:
(1) “Psychotherapy” means the professional treatment, assessment, or counseling of a mental or emotional illness, symptom, or condition.
(2) “Psychotherapist” means a physician and surgeon specializing in the practice of psychiatry, a psychologist, a psychological assistant, a marriage and family therapist, a registered marriage and family therapist intern or trainee, an educational psychologist, an associate clinical social worker, a licensed clinical social worker, a professional clinical counselor, or a registered clinical counselor intern or trainee.
(3) “Sexual contact” means the touching of an intimate part of another person. “Intimate part” and “touching” have the same meanings as defined in subdivisions (f) and (d), respectively, of Section 243.4 of the Penal Code. For the purposes of this section, sexual contact includes sexual intercourse, sodomy, and oral copulation.
(4) “Therapeutic relationship” exists during the time the patient or client is rendered professional service by the psychotherapist.
(5) “Therapeutic deception” means a representation by a psychotherapist that sexual contact with the psychotherapist is consistent with or part of the patient’s or former patient’s treatment.
(b) A cause of action against a psychotherapist for sexual contact exists for a patient or former patient for injury caused by sexual contact with the psychotherapist, if the sexual contact occurred under any of the following conditions:
(1) During the period the patient was receiving psychotherapy from the psychotherapist.
(2) Within two years following termination of therapy.
(3) By means of therapeutic deception.
(c) The patient or former patient may recover damages from a psychotherapist who is found liable for sexual contact. It is not a defense to the action that sexual contact with a patient occurred outside a therapy or treatment session or that it occurred off the premises regularly used by the psychotherapist for therapy or treatment sessions. No cause of action shall exist between spouses within a marriage.
(d) In an action for sexual contact, evidence of the plaintiff’s sexual history is not subject to discovery and is not admissible as evidence except in either of the following situations:
(1) The plaintiff claims damage to sexual functioning.
(2) The defendant requests a hearing prior to conducting discovery and makes an offer of proof of the relevancy of the history, and the court finds that the history is relevant and the probative value of the history outweighs its prejudicial effect.
The court shall allow the discovery or introduction as evidence only of specific information or examples of the plaintiff’s conduct that are determined by the court to be relevant. The court’s order shall detail the information or conduct that is subject to discovery.
(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 381, Sec. 16. Effective January 1, 2012.)
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