Saturday, August 18, 2007

Case Law Development: No Private Cause of Action under Child Abuse Reporting Statutes

The Minnesota Supreme Court has held that the state's Child Abuse Reporting Act does not create a private cause of action against mandatory reporters for failure to report suspected child abuse to authorities.  The court thus affirmed the district court's dismissal of this count of the plaintiff's claim.  However, the plaintiffs had also pled a common law negligence claim.   While the district court did not strike that claim, it did exclude all evidence related to the hospital's responsibility to report suspected child abuse to outside authorities.  The supreme court held that this was error because the plaintiffs presented a prima facie case that the ordinary skill and care expected in the medical profession required the hospital to report a child with suspicious injuries as a victim of suspected child abuse.  Two dissenting judges would have affirmed the district court's exclusion of
evidence as well, reasoning that the plaintiffs had failed to make a sufficient offer of proof.

Becker v. Mayo Found., 2007 Minn. LEXIS 455  (Minnesota Supreme Court August 16, 2007)
Opinion online (last visited August 18, 2007 bgf)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2007/08/case-law-deve-9.html

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