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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

148.975 DUTY TO WARN; LIMITATION ON LIABILITY; VIOLENT BEHAVIOR OF
PATIENT.
    Subdivision 1. Definitions. (a) The definitions in this subdivision apply to this section.
(b) "Other person" means an immediate family member or someone who personally knows
the client and has reason to believe the client is capable of and will carry out the serious, specific
threat of harm to a specific, clearly identified or identifiable victim.
(c) "Reasonable efforts" means communicating the serious, specific threat to the potential
victim and if unable to make contact with the potential victim, communicating the serious,
specific threat to the law enforcement agency closest to the potential victim or the client.
    Subd. 2. Duty to warn. The duty to predict, warn of, or take reasonable precautions
to provide protection from, violent behavior arises only when a client or other person has
communicated to the licensee a specific, serious threat of physical violence against a specific,
clearly identified or identifiable potential victim. If a duty to warn arises, the duty is discharged
by the licensee if reasonable efforts, as defined in subdivision 1, paragraph (c), are made to
communicate the threat.
    Subd. 3.[Renumbered subd 2]
    Subd. 3. Liability standard. If no duty to warn exists under subdivision 2, then no monetary
liability and no cause of action may arise against a licensee for failure to predict, warn of, or take
reasonable precautions to provide protection from, a client's violent behavior.
    Subd. 4. Disclosure of confidences. Good faith compliance with the duty to warn shall not
constitute a breach of confidence and shall not result in monetary liability or a cause of action
against the licensee.
    Subd. 5. Continuity of care. Nothing in subdivision 2 shall be construed to authorize a
licensee to terminate treatment of a client as a direct result of a client's violent behavior or
threat of physical violence unless the client is referred to another practitioner or appropriate
health care facility.
    Subd. 6. Exception. This section does not apply to a threat to commit suicide or other
threats by a client to harm the client, or to a threat by a client who is adjudicated mentally ill
and dangerous under chapter 253B.
    Subd. 7. Optional disclosure. Nothing in section 148.975 shall be construed to prohibit a
licensee from disclosing confidences to third parties in a good-faith effort to warn against or take
precautions against a client's violent behavior or threat to commit suicide for which a duty to
warn does not arise.
    Subd. 8. Limitation on liability. No monetary liability and no cause of action, or disciplinary
action by the board may arise against a licensee for disclosure of confidences to third parties,
for failure to disclose confidences to third parties, or for erroneous disclosure of confidences to
third parties in a good-faith effort to warn against or take precautions against a client's violent
behavior or threat of suicide for which a duty to warn does not arise.
History: 1986 c 380 s 1; 1996 c 424 s 21