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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.
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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