Thursday, October 10, 2013

Probationer Can Sue Lab On False Positive Claim

The New York Court of Appeals has held that the tort claims of a probationer who contends that a drug testing company falsely reported a positive test for drug use survive the company's motion to dismiss.

The court majority found that public policy favors a cause of action because

...the release of a false positive report will have profound, potentially life-altering consequences for a test subject. In particular, here, plaintiff faced the loss of freedom associated with serving an extended period of probation. The laboratory is also in the best position to prevent false positive results. Under the circumstances, we find that [the laboratory] had a duty to the test subject to perform his drug test in keeping with relevant professional standards and that the existence of its contract with the County does not immunize defendant laboratory.

Not according to the dissent

The law of defamation provides a remedy for people who claim that they have been falsely reported as testing positive for drugs. The remedy is subject to strict limits, as it should be. There is no good reason to invent a new tort.

(Mike Frisch)

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