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Michigan Supreme Court Declines to Rule: 3rd Party Case to Proceed

FMSF News Alert - May 11, 2016

Dear Friends,

Roberts v. Salmi. Michigan Supreme Court. SC 150919, COA: 316068
Houghton CC: 2012-01-015075 -NH

On May 6, 2016, after considering briefs and hearing oral arguments, the Michigan Supreme Court vacated their order to allow an appeal of the December 18, 2014 Court of Appeals decision. The Michigan Supreme Court statement said only "we are no longer persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court."

This means that the 3rd party suit brought by Lale and Joan Roberts against their daughter’s therapist Kathryn Salmi may proceed.

The Roberts filed a lawsuit in Houghton County, Michigan, claiming that Kathryn Salmi’s counseling techniques caused the allegations of sexual abuse by her father. After an investigation, no charges were ever filed against the father.

The issue is whether mental health professionals have a duty of care to third parties if memory recovery techniques are used. In 2014, the Appeals Court said "yes."

Zachary Kemp, the attorney representing the Lale and Joan Roberts, stated that the parents had looked in the background of Salmi and, "they had to put their trust in (Salmi) in hopes that she would do her job, not harm [their] child, and certainly not implant false memories of abuse that never happened."

Beth Wittmann, attorney for Kathryn Salmi stated: "In the context of allegations of physical or sexual abuse perpetrated on a minor, the loyalty of the therapist lies only with the patient and not third parties, particularly third parties who are the alleged perpetrators of the abuse."

We have written about the details of this case previously. They may be found at:
FMSF 2014 News Updates - Michigan Court of Appeals Revives Lawsuit Against Therapist

See: Associated Press. (2016, MY 7). Court: Key ruling in U.P. false memories case will stand. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved on May 8, 2016 from Court: Key ruling in U.P. false memories case will stand

J. Bean and Pam