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patient litigation exception

A rule that holds that a privilege is waived if the person holding the privilege introduces the subject matter of the privilege in a legal proceeding. For example, a patient cannot claim damages for emotional injuries without waiving any existing psychiatrist-patient privilege that otherwise would shield information relevant to the patient's emotional condition before or after an accident.

Definition reprinted with permission from Committee on Psychiatry and Law, of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry: Mental Health Professional and the Legal System