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Jul 2011

Susan Devlin was successful in obtaining the dismissal of all claims filed against an emergency room physician with respect to her report of suspected child abuse of the Plaintiff’s daughter.  The physician reported her suspicions of abuse pursuant to her obligations as a mandated reporter under M.G.L. c. 119, § 51A.  The Plaintiff had alleged that the report was negligently made to local police and that he subsequently suffered damages when the allegations were found to be supported by the Department of Children and Families.  The defendant sought dismissal of all claims as the physician was immune from suit pursuant to § 51A and further that her actions were protected petitioning activities under M.G.L.c. 231, § 59H (the “anti-SLAPP” statute).  Specifically, the defendant asserted that reports of suspected crimes to the police are protected petitioning activities for which she could not be sued.  After a hearing, the Court agreed that the physician’s activities in reporting the abuse were protected by § 59H and further, that the Plaintiff failed to show that the report lacked reasonable factual support.  All counts of the Plaintiff’s Complaint against the physician were subsequently dismissed.

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