If my husband had a 12-year on-line affair with a licensed family therapist, can I sue her for anything?

UPDATED: Sep 17, 2011

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If my husband had a 12-year on-line affair with a licensed family therapist, can I sue her for anything?

I have sexually graphic e-mail transcripts between them. I also have e-mail exchanges directly with her and me where she admits to the whole thing for 12 years. Small sample: “Michael and I had a relationship, several years before you met, but obviously, there were feelings leftover. It is true that there have been some inappropriate e-mails over the years. I suspect those e-mails were generated by frustrations for each of us in our own lives.” Admitted to and rationalized. As a result of being the victim here, I am being treated for PTSD. Any legal options available to me?

Asked on September 17, 2011 under Malpractice Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Was she *your* therapist? Or your husband's? If she was, then becoming involved with a patient or a patient's spouse might be a violation of the profession's ethical standards and also malpractice, and could therefore give you grounds for a lawsuit.

However, if there was no patient-doctor relationship with you or your spouse, then there would be no grounds for a lawsuit--she would not owe you a legally enforceable duty to refrain from such a relationship, and the law does not make adultry actionable in this way, even when it hurts someone. You might still want to report what happened to her licensing board or organization, and any hospitals, etc. with which they are affiliated; while that won't get you money or compensation, they may take action against her, which at least would provide satisfaction. Be sure to stick EXACTLY to provable facts if you do this, to avoid any claim of defamation.

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