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Article   |    
A Review of Tort Liability in Involuntary Civil Commitment
Samuel Knapp; Leon VandeCreek
Psychiatric Services 1987; doi:
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Rosalie G. Handler Center in Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The grounds for liability in cases of involuntary civil commitment have been broadened in recent years. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have been found liable for infringement of civil rights under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act and for failure to commit an individual who is subsequently involved in a tragedy. This article reviews recent developments in tort liability in involuntary civil commitment as well as the traditional areas of tort liability, including malpractice, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, and abuse of process. The authors believe that even in this climate of expanded liability, mental health professionals who follow the letter and spirit of civil commitment laws will continue to enjoy the broad protections from liability afforded them in the past.

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