According to the Twin Cities Report, a Duluth judge has rules that it will be up to a jury to decide whether Essentia Health is liable for damages after one of its former psychotherapists borrowed more than $100,000 from a patient and never repaid. A Duluth woman filed a medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuit against licensed psychotherapist Catherine Nelles Andersons and her former employer, now known as Essentia Health. The lawsuit alleges that Anderson negligently allowed an apparent personal relationship to develop with her patient by failing to maintain professional boundaries.
The plaintiff’s personal injury lawsuit alleges that the employer is vicariously liable for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and misrepresentation, failure to treat and financial exploitation or a vulnerable adult on the theory of respondeat superior, where an employer can be held liable for an employee acting within the scope of employment.
The plaintiff claims she suffered and will continue to suffer remorse, humiliation, mental anguish, post-traumatic stress, and financial suffering. The judge agreed that the patient received psychotherapy during operating hours and on employer’s property, and failure to provide psychotherapy in a manner that falls within professional guidelines is a reasonably foreseeable conduct by a service provider.
The employer fired Anderson once evidence came to light that she borrowed the money from the patient. The plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer said that borrowing money from his client was negligent and that the plaintiff looks forward to proceeding with the trial.