Child abuse is taken very seriously under New York law. In fact, certain professionals are required to report suspected cases of child abuse or maltreatment. The law grants qualified immunity to a professional making reports of suspected child abuse. However, a recent New York lawsuit alleged that a false report about the plaintiff’s medical condition led to the removal of her two children from her custody. This case highlights the New York child custody implications of the mandatory reporting statute.
The plaintiff was brought to the emergency room by New York City police officers. She was in emotional turmoil after being sexually assaulted on the subway that morning. Medical professionals in the emergency room allegedly inaccurately diagnosed the plaintiff as suffering from schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, and manic depression personality disorder and advised New York City Child Protective Services of the diagnosis.
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging that the medical professionals improperly disclosed her medical diagnosis to CPS and caused the authorities to remove the plaintiff’s two sons, aged four and nine, from her care and custody and place them in foster care. The lawsuit named the hospital and her doctor as defendants (Parra v. Beth Israel Med. Ctr., 2017 NY Slip Op 30782 – NY: Supreme Court 2017).