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  1. #1
    BamaDave is offline Junior Member
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    Apr 2007
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    Federal Lawsuit - Time Limits?

    What is the name of your state? Alabama

    I sued a psychologist in Alabama court for violation of the privilege of confidentiality. After losing on appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court I want to take the case to the Federal level.

    I canot find anywhere in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure where it defines the time you have after your appeal is denied at the state level to then begin proceedings in Federal District Court. Can anyone direct me in the right direction? Thanks
  2. #2
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    Why do you think the federal courts would review this? What is the federal (subject matter) jurisdiction? The states are a seperate sovereign, you can't appeal/refile just because you didn't get the result you wanted unless a federal issue has been mis-decided.
  3. #3
    BamaDave is offline Junior Member
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    Denial of Constitutional Privilege

    In 1996 in Jaffee v. Redmond the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the psychotherapist/patient privilege as a constitutionally protected absolute privilege. Under the U.S. Code, denial of a constitutionally protected privilege under color of state law is a subject for litigation.

    In Alabama the psychotherapist/patient privilege was placed by statute and court rule as being the same as the attorney/client privilege.

    The Alabama Supreme Court in my case has, for the first time anywhere as far as I can determine, said that attorneys are allowed to violate privilege by reporting crimes admitted to by their clients... since the privileges are equal and the ruling said a psychologist was protected by immunity from civil liability for violation of the privilege of confidentiality.

    I was told by a (disbarred) attorney in prison that he thought the time limit for taking the issue to Federal court was two years from the date of the ruling, or possibility two years from the last reconsideration date for the state case. However, he was not able to tell me where to find this time limit in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

    On April 22 it will be two years since the ruling was handed down by the Alabama Supreme Court, so it is vital that I find the correct information. I am ready to file but do not want to incur the expense if I am past the time limit.

    My case was Marks v. Tenbrunsel - Alabama Supreme Court Case No. 1031515 - if you'd like to see it... an interesting case... I wish I had an attorney willing to handle it, but unfortunately the nature of my crime precludes that...
    Last edited by BamaDave; 04-09-2007 at 10:28 AM.
  4. #4
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    Nope, not good enough. You need more. Were you convicted of a crime because your Psycologist told the police something you told him and it was used against you in court? If so, you *may* have a claim, but not for 42 U.S.C. 1983. But, it would probably be more of a due process claim of some sort because you made a timely objection which the judge overruled.

    There are so many facts missing in your statements it is impossible to help. I'm not even sure if you're talking about an appeal or a habeous petition or what. Sorry, I'm not willing to wade through everything to help except to say I find it unlikely you have a case in federal court.

    Info edit:
    I just glanced at the case. Even in the dissent, there are not any federal issues. The dissent has some sort of contractual argument. The holding of the case is clearly state law. Since you would have had to plead the federal quesiton in your briefs, you would be estopped from claiming anything now because it was all part of the same case or controversey. This was a claim for money and not for habeous relief. The Alabama Supreme court is the last word on the interpretation of Alabama law.
    Last edited by tranquility; 04-09-2007 at 11:38 AM.

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