State Supreme Court case returns to local court

HOUGHTON — A lawsuit involving the alleged use of Recovered Memory Therapy in Houghton County will move forward in Circuit Court.

A case between a Watton couple and a Hancock therapist will return to the local court to pick up where it left off.

Lale and Joan Roberts were attempting to sue Kathryn Salmi of Salmi Christian Counseling when the circuit court ruled that Salmi could not be held liable for harm caused to a third party.

The Roberts claim when they sent their daughter for treatment in 2009… Salmi’s alleged use of recovered memory therapy led to false accusations of sexual abuse of their daughter. Salmi has denied using such techniques.

The Roberts were investigated but no charges were filed.

In December 2014…the Court of Appeals overturned the Circuit Court decision…which later led to the State Supreme Court agreeing to hear the case.

Arguments were presented on April 6th to determine whether a therapist has a duty of care to third parties who might foreseeably be harmed by the use of techniques that cause a patient to have false memories of sexual abuse.

After listening to both sides…the court wavered on whether the issue should instead be settled by the Michigan Legislature.

The court ultimately vacated their order to take the case thus denying the appeal of the lower court’s ruling. The Court stated in their order that they are no longer persuaded that they should review the questions presented.

That means the ruling issued by the Court of Appeals stands…therapists do have duty of care to third parties in such circumstances. Therefore…the case will return to Circuit Court where the lawsuit is expected to proceed.