Direct Appeal Fourth District, Spanish Fork The Honorable M.
James Brady No. 150300034
Pfrommer, Ronald D. Wilkinson, Nathan S. Shill, Orem, for
Egan, Stephen W. Owens, Salt Lake City, for appellee
Justice Himonas authored the opinion of the court, in which
Chief Justice Durrant, Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice
Pearce, and Judge Pettit joined.
her retirement, Justice Durham did not participate herein;
District Court Judge Kara Pettit sat.
Justice Petersen became a member of the Court on November 17,
2017, after oral argument in this matter and accordingly did
1 This case presents the question of whether a treating
therapist owes a duty of reasonable care to a nonpatient
parent when treating that parent's child for potential
allegations of sexual abuse. We answer this question in
Mower v. Baird, 2018 UT 29, __ P.3d __, a companion
case that we also decide today. There, we hold that a
treating therapist "owes a duty to a minor patient's
parents to refrain from affirmative acts that recklessly
violate the standard of care in a manner that gives rise to
false memories or false allegations of sexual abuse committed
by the plaintiff nonpatient parent." Mower,
2018 UT 29, ¶ 114. We remand this case for proceedings
consistent with our opinion in Mower.
2 Rocio Smith had two children with her ex-husband, Aaron
Smith. Mr. Smith and his new wife (Stepmother)
made several allegations that Ms. Smith had sexually abused
the children. Mr. Smith filed a petition to terminate Ms.
Smith's parental rights.
3 After this, Stepmother brought the children to Kayelyn
Robinson for therapy and told Ms. Robinson that therapy was
being sought because of the alleged sexual abuse. Ms.
Robinson improperly relied upon the information provided by
Mr. Smith and Stepmother and made allegations that Ms. Smith
had sexually abused the children. During treatment, Ms.
Robinson also inappropriately acted as a treatment provider
and forensic evaluator. Ms. Robinson worked with Mr. Smith
and Stepmother to actively advocate against Ms. Smith.
Despite Ms. Robinson's clear conflict of interest, she
continued providing therapy to the children.
4 At one point, the court hearing the custody dispute ordered
Ms. Robinson to stop acting as the children's therapist
and to have no further contact with the children. Ms.
Robinson blatantly violated this court order. Additionally,
Ms. Robinson used somebody else's key to access the
children's HIPPA-protected records and provided them to
the parties, their attorneys, and the court.
5 As a result of Ms. Robinson's actions, Ms. Smith lost
visitation with her children for several years and
"endured personal defamation, lost income and
employment, and incurred enormous legal
expenses." Ms. Smith filed suit against Ms. Robinson