On July 25, 2019 an appeals Court reversed an Order of a trial court that refused to dismiss a defamation claim against an emergency room physician - filed by the parents of a 2 year old boy who suffered an unexplained skull fracture. The ER doctor questioned the parents who were unable to explain how and when the boy had been injured. Given the parents inability to explain how such a serious injury could have happened to a 2 year old, the ER doctor followed the law and reported the parents to Child Protective Services.
According to Social Services Law Section 413, all physicians are under a legal obligation to make a report to Child Protective Services whenever: "they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child...is an abused or maltreated child." For that reason, physicians are afforded a qualified immunity from defamation claims and enjoy a presumption that they acted in good faith. It is irrelevant whether in fact the parents are without fault. Hunter v Lourdes Hospital, 2019 WL 3327101