LEE GREENWALD v. DAVID VAN HANDEL, SC 1 9100
Judicial District of Waterbury
Negligence; Whether Professional Negligence Claim Barred by Public Policy Against Permitting a Person to Profit From His Own Wrongdoing. The plaintiff brought this action claiming the professional malpractice of the defendant, a licensed clinical social worker. The plaintiff alleged that he was a client of the defendant’s for ten years starting when he was seven years old and that, while he told the defendant that he was viewing child pornography on the Internet, the defendant failed to treat him for that predilection, refer him to another health care provider or tell his parents. The plaintiff claimed that he continued viewing child pornography after attaining the age of majority, and that in 2010 the police raided his home and seized his computers. He alleged that, as a result of the defendant’s negligence, he lives in fear that he will be arrested and convicted and has had to pay for ongoing therapy and medications. The trial court struck the plaintiff’s complaint and rendered judgment for the defendant, ruling that the public policy of this state does not countenance a plaintiff recovering compensation for injuries caused by his own wrongful conduct. The plaintiff appeals, claiming, among other things, that the “wrongful conduct rule” should not apply here because the defendant’s culpability for his injuries is greater than his own. He also claims that the public policy against permitting one to profit from his or her own wrongdoing applies only to situations that either involve an innocent defendant or a defendant who has conspired with the plaintiff to commit the wrongful act.