In re K.D., 178 N.C. App. 322, 631 S.E.2d 150 (2006)

Addressing assertion of psychologist-patient privilege on appeal in a neglect case. 
"Even apart from the Rules of Appellate Procedure, it is well established that a failure to object to requested disclosure of privileged information constitutes a waiver of that privilege. Adams, 105 N.C. App. at 28, 411 S.E.2d at 624. In Adams, this Court held that "the defendant impliedly waived his alleged [physician-patient] privilege because he objected to the request, not on the grounds of privilege, but on the grounds of relevance." Id. at 29, 411 S.E.2d at 624. Accordingly, here, respondent mother's failure to object to Koempel's testimony on the basis of privilege amounted to a waiver of her right to claim the psychologist-client privilege on appeal.
Finally, our General Assembly has stated repeatedly that the psychologist-patient privilege does not operate to exclude evidence regarding the abuse or neglect of a child. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B–310 (2005) ("No privilege, except the attorney-client privilege, shall be grounds for excluding evidence of abuse, neglect, or dependency in any judicial proceeding (civil, criminal, or juvenile) in which a juvenile's abuse, neglect, or dependency is in issue . . . ."); N.C. Gen. Stat. § 8–53.3 (2005) ("Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the psychologist-client or patient privilege shall not be grounds for excluding evidence regarding the abuse or neglect of a child . . . ."). See also State v. Knight, 93 N.C. App. 460, 466-67, 378 S.E.2d 424, 427 (under § 8–53.3, defendant's statement to psychologist that he had been seduced by underage stepdaughter was not privileged because it related to abuse or neglect of child), disc. review denied, 325 N.C. 230, 381 S.E.2d 789 (1989).
Further, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 8-53.3 permits the trial judge to compel disclosure of otherwise privileged information "if in his or her opinion disclosure is necessary to a proper administration of justice." No explicit finding is required since such a finding is implicit in the admission of the evidence. State v. Williams, 350 N.C. 1, 21, 510 S.E.2d 626, 640, cert. denied, 528 U.S. 880, 145 L. Ed. 2d 162, 120 S. Ct. 193 (1999). This assignment of error is, therefore, overruled."

Children's Services

State case

Cross references: