San Diego : Judge Dismisses Suit Against Therapist

Ruling that there was insufficient evidence to show that a man had repressed his adult memories of a homosexual encounter with his therapist, a judge threw out a lawsuit Thursday that sought monetary damages from the medical director of the County Psychiatric Hospital for allegedly having sex with a client.

The man, who is referred to in court documents as Mr. Doe, sued Dr. David McWhirter, claiming that he only recently remembered a sexual assault that occurred in 1977.

After a four-day trial, Superior Court Judge Kevin Midlam determined that the man failed to meet the statute of limitations, which requires that a lawsuit seeking damages from a medical provider be filed within one year of the date of injury.

Midlam's decision was based on the Code of Civil Procedure, which, among other things, sets time limits for filing legal actions against a variety of professionals.

One section of the code deals with taking action against health care providers for negligence: "The time for commencement of action shall be three years after the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury, whichever occurs first."

Mr. Doe, a 58-year-old former Navy officer, claimed that his "injury" from the attack occurred in 1991 when the repressed memory surfaced.

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