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Doctor to Attorney: “Are You Masturbating?”


— January 18, 2007

John Hartnett alleged as follows:

He is an attorney who has had a bipolar mental condition since 1970. On November 7, 2004, he was an in-patient at Hillmont mental health care hospital, a facility owned and operated by the County of Ventura (County). Doctor Olivia Landicho is a psychiatrist and member of the Hillmont staff.

Landicho conducted an exit interview at which Hartnett’s right to leave the hospital would be determined. During the interview, Landicho stated, “Are you masturbating?” The question was made in the presence of two mental health personnel, but was in reality an assertion that Hartnett was masturbating in her presence. The “statement” was untrue. At the time Landicho made the “statement,” Hartnett was not masturbating, and did not have his hands close to his hips.

Hartnett sued Dr. Landicho. “The trial court sustained without leave to amend a demurrer to a complaint alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress and slander per se. The court concluded, among other matters, that the statement alleged in the complaint is privileged under Civil Code section 47, subdivision (b), statement made in an official proceeding.” The Court of Appeal affirmed. Hartnett v. Landicho (Cal. Ct. App. 2nd App. Dist., Div. Six, Jan. 18, 2007) No. B189292.

UPDATE: Attorney John Gillespie Hartnett is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. But he is currently “not eligible to practice law,” and has had a rough time fighting the State Bar trying to keep his law license over the past five or six years, according to his records on the State Bar’s website.


John Hartnett alleged as follows:

He is an attorney who has had a bipolar mental condition since 1970. On November 7, 2004, he was an in-patient at Hillmont mental health care hospital, a facility owned and operated by the County of Ventura (County). Doctor Olivia Landicho is a psychiatrist and member of the Hillmont staff.

Landicho conducted an exit interview at which Hartnett’s right to leave the hospital would be determined. During the interview, Landicho stated, “Are you masturbating?” The question was made in the presence of two mental health personnel, but was in reality an assertion that Hartnett was masturbating in her presence. The “statement” was untrue. At the time Landicho made the “statement,” Hartnett was not masturbating, and did not have his hands close to his hips.

Hartnett sued Dr. Landicho. “The trial court sustained without leave to amend a demurrer to a complaint alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress and slander per se. The court concluded, among other matters, that the statement alleged in the complaint is privileged under Civil Code section 47, subdivision (b), statement made in an official proceeding.” The Court of Appeal affirmed. Hartnett v. Landicho (Cal. Ct. App. 2nd App. Dist., Div. Six, Jan. 18, 2007) No. B189292.

UPDATE: Attorney John Gillespie Hartnett is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. But he is currently “not eligible to practice law,” and has had a rough time fighting the State Bar trying to keep his law license over the past five or six years, according to his records on the State Bar’s website.

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