Court Finds Social Worker's Correspondence with Family Court Immune from Liability
Obtained summary judgment for a licensed clinical social worker in a negligence, defamation, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress case. The plaintiff (the father, a police officer and president of the local school board) brought these claims after the social worker informed the Family Court of the children's allegations of physical and emotional abuse by the plaintiff, which were revealed to her during the minor children's therapy sessions. In granting summary judgment, the court found that the social worker's correspondence with the Family Court was immune from liability pursuant to the litigation privilege, irrespective of the fact that the court had not specifically sought her opinions and that she did not testify in the Family Court litigation. New Jersey recognizes immunity for all statements made in the course of litigation, regardless of their form, intent or truthfulness. The court also concluded that the plaintiff's claims for negligence and defamation were partially barred by the statute of limitations.