Tort Law Tidbit – Sex Abuse Claims Against Therapist

Did you know that Tennessee has a specific statute addressing sex abuse claims against therapists?

The “Therapist Sexual Misconduct Victims Compensation Act” is set forth in T.C.A. Sec. 29-26-201 et seq. A “therapist” is defined as “any person who performs therapy regardless of whether the person is licensed by the state.” “Therapy” is also a defined term, and includes marital counseling, substance abuse treatment, family counseling, and other treatment.

The statute of limitations is two years and there is a discovery rule that is very patient-friendly. There are special rules applicable to minors. The Act prescribes situations under which the employer of the therapist can be held liable.

The Act also sets forth the damages which may be recovered in such a case; punitive damages may be recovered.

Claims against therapists should be brought under this Act; the law as set forth in the Act is at least (and probably more) favorable that an action brought under common law. The statute of limitations is much more generous.