Tuesday, September 21, 2010

California Court Affirms County Immunity In Child Welfare

On the surface, this unpublished opinion looks as if the Plantiff, a child who was in foster care, lost the claim..  As I do not have copy of the actual complaint, I can initially see there were at least 11 or more claims where there was an out of court mediation with the Child Placing Agency.  This is about immunity of County Foster Care Workers.  The Appellate Court affirmed the lower Court's decision to dismiss and awarded appeal costs to the County.  As I do not have copy of other proceedings, I am going out there to assume there was a monetary award in mediation, otherwise, penalties such as this deter attorneys from taking indigent cases.

No money, no justice.

Also, other claims were dismissed against other defendants, without prejudice, meaning there are grounds to come back once they get their legal strategy together.

I like this unpublished opinion.  That's why I am publishing it.

The question at hand is: "Is the County liable?"

Here is the situation in a nutshell.

Kid goes into foster care.  Mother sees kid has bruises and reports it to the workers on multiple occasions.  Workers do nothing.  Kid suffers severe brain and chest injuries.  Court says workers are not liable under theory of discretionary immunity.

Basically, what the Court is trying to say is there is a precedent to apply, that being foster care workers are immune when carrying out their mandatory duties.  Reporting and intervening in the abusive foster home situation was a discretionary decision, which is not a mandate written into the State Welfare Codes.

Ok, I can concur with the Court on this one, but I would have taken a very different approach.

County workers are subreceipients to federal funding.  A County is a corporation.  I would have filed in State to be removed to federal, bifurcated, and stripped all levels of immunity under federal funding statutes.

The Judges were, more than likely, inspired by the infamous Deshanney v. County of Winnebago, but I have already found substantial errors in that logic.

I, as well as others, have identified other means and methods to approach harms and violations of the child welfare system.  I will be presenting soon.,

U.B. a Minor v County of Tulane