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Shanee Thurston
Shana Reasoner
Mohammed Alanazi
April 13, 2015
HCM 388

Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California
a. Who are the parties?
Tatiana Tarasoff
Prosenjit Poddar
Tatianas parents (Plaintiffs)
Doctors Powelson, Moore, Gold, Yandell and Regents of the University of
California (Defendants)
Officers Atkinson, Brownrigg, and Halleran

b. Who brought the action?
The parents of Tatiana Tarasoff

c. In what court did the case originate?
This case originated in the appellate court which was the Superior Court of
Alameda County in California.

d. Who won at the trial-court level?
The judgement of the Superior Court was in favor of the defendants.

e. What is the appellate history of the case?
Tatianas parents appealed the case by taking it to the California Supreme Court.

a. What are the relevant facts as recited by this court?
1. On August 20, 1969, Poddar was a voluntary outpatient receiving
therapy at Cowell Memorial Hospital.

2. Poddar informed Moore, his therapist, that he was going to kill an
unarmed girl, readily identifiable as Tatiana, when she returned
home from spending the summer in Brazil.

3. Moore, with concurrence of Dr. Gold, who had initially examined
Poddar, and Dr. Yondell, assist to the director of the department

of psychiatry, decided that Poddar should be committed for

observation in a mental hospital.
4. Moor orally notified Officers Atkinson and Teel of the campus
police that he would request commitment.
5. He then sent a letter to Police Chief Williams Beall requesting the
assistance of the police department in securing Poddars
6. Officers Atkinson, Brownrigg, and Halleran took Poddar into
custody, but satisfied that Poddar was rational, released him on
his promise to stay away from Tatiana.
7. Powelson, director of the department of psychiatry at the Cowell
Memorial Hospital, then asked the police to return Moore letter,
directed that all copies of the letter and notes that Moore had
taken as therapist be destroyed, and ordered no action to place
Prosenjit Poddar in 72-hour treatment and evaluation facility.
8. Poddar persuaded Tatianas brother to share an apartment with
him near Tatianas residence.
9. On October 27, 1969, shortly after her return from Brazil, Poddar
went to her residence and killed her.

b. Are there any facts that you would like to know but that are not revealed in
the opinion?
1. Why did he want to kill Tatiana?
2. Why did the police take on his promise to stay away from Tatiana
considering that a promise is not enough to release a person on,
especially when they say they want to kill another individual?


a. What are the precise issues being litigated, as stated by the court?
Failure to Detain a Dangerous Patient and Failure to Warn on a Dangerous

b. Do you agree with the way the court has framed those issues?
Yes, I agree with the way the California Supreme Court framed the issues
because they remanded the case and concluded that they had a duty to disclose
the foreseen dangers of the patient (Poddar) posed on Tatiana.


a. What is the courts precise holding (decision)?
The courts hold that that a doctor is liable to persons infected by his patient if he
negligently fails to diagnose a contagious disease, or, having diagnosed the
illness, fails to warn members of the patients family.

b. What is its rationale for that decision?
Once a therapist does in fact determine, or under applicable professional
standards reasonably should have determined, that a patient poses a serious
danger of violence to others, he bears a duty to exercise reasonable care to
protect the foreseeable victim of that danger.

c. Do you agree with that rationale?
Yes, I agree with the rational because Tatianas life could have been spared if she
or someone close to her was notified that he wanted to kill her.


a. What does the case mean for healthcare today?

Several cases have helped shape healthcare today, Tarasoff v Regents is no do different.
Healthcare providers have a more conscious responsibility to warn their patients now,
due to this case.

b. What were its implications when the decision was announced?
Once the decision was announced for this case the responsibility of a counselor or
therapist to breach confidentiality if a client or other identifiable person is in clear or
imminent danger became very apparent.

c. How should healthcare administrators prepare to deal with these

Healthcare administrators now have a duty to warn their patients. They should expect
the worst outcome if they dont, seeing how this case shaped the moral
standing/responsibility for healthcare providers.

d. What would be different today if the case had been decided differently?
Providers wouldnt have a duty or responsibility to warn their patients if the verdict of
this case was different. Although not all providers are after money. However some
would probably prey on helpless and confused patients. Many of lives may have been
lost due to the lack of information and knowledge.