The family of a Spokane woman who was murdered along with her son can pursue a lawsuit over whether the killer’s psychiatrist should have done more to protect them, the Washington Supreme Court held in a case with implications for mental-health professionals around the state. Rebecca Schiering and one of her sons, Phillip, were shot by her ex-fiance, Jan DeMeerleer, in 2010. DeMeerleer, who also wounded another of Schiering’s sons in the attack, then returned to his own home and killed himself. Schiering’s family sued the killer’s psychiatrist, Dr. Howard Ashby, and Spokane Psychiatric Clinic, alleging they were negligent in their treatment of DeMeerleer and that they should have done more to protect the victims. Ashby knew his patient had previously expressed homicidal and suicidal ideas, but found no “real clinical problem” in their most recent meeting, three months before the killings. In a 6-3 opinion, the Supreme Court held Thursday that the lawsuit can go forward. The majority said mental-health professionals must act with reasonable care to identify and mitigate the dangerousness of psychiatric patients. Killer’s psychiatrist can be sued by victim’s family, Washington Supreme Court says I'm not sure Ashby could have foresaw something 3 months down the line.