We recently shared with you some very interesting information about recovered memory therapy, and whether or not it was possible to plant memories of abuse in a person’s mind during therapy. The current case in which this question has been a central issue, is Kathryn Salmi vs. Lale and Joan Roberts. In this article, we are going to discuss a recent Michigan Supreme Court decision that will have a significant impact on that case, and the lawsuit that resulted from it.
When Lale and Joan Roberts sent their daughter Kristi to Salmi for therapy, it wasn’t long before their young daughter was claiming that she had begun to remember that her father had sexually abused her. Both police and CPS investigated the allegations and found no evidence to support these claims, and no charges were brought. Nevertheless, that didn’t lessen the damage already done to the family.
The Roberts’ sued Salmi for malpractice, claiming that she had implanted false memories in their daughter’s mind during therapy. Salmi denied it, explaining that she didn’t practice repressed memory therapy, and all of Kristi’s memories are her own.
This issue here deals with “whether a mental health professional has a duty of care to third parties who might foreseeably be harmed by the mental health professional’s use of techniques that cause a patient to have false memories of sexual abuse.” However, the trial Judge determined that Salmi didn’t owe a duty of care to the plaintiff’s as they were not her patients, as a result the lawsuit was dismissed.
The Roberts’ took their case to the Court of Appeals, where the decision was reversed in a split decision that allowed the lawsuit to continue. Salmi then sought help from the Michigan Supreme Court, hoping to once again have the lawsuit dismissed. After hearing arguments, the Michigan Supreme Court decided that they will not be intervening in any way in the case, which opens the door for the lawsuit to continue.
Although this case has been going on for several years now, it still garners a good deal of media attention, as it is a subject of considerable interest to many people. For this reason, we will continue to follow updates in the case, and provide you with pertinent information as we receive it.