258, § 4 (1994 ed.). The department did not follow this recommendation. Facts. Commonwealth v. Donaldson ... this time stopping his pickup near a Hispanic male who Officer Schaffer had noticed loitering near the corner of Mohr and Allen Streets. Thus, under the act, the Commonwealth as a public employer is immune from suits arising from intentional torts. 160-161], and discussion of cases in which courts have declined to
See G.L.c. See id. 1968) Big Town Nursing Home, Inc. v. Newman. The average Elizabeth Mohr is around 74 years of age with around 43% falling in to the age group of 61-80. They alleged that the defendants negligently failed to provide accurate and complete information about Elizabeth's background, particularly her medical and family history, as well as her probable needs for future treatment and care, and that this negligence caused them harm. certain State regulations was harmless where it could not have
We disagree. 139, 141-142 (1992); Onofrio v. Department of Mental Health, 408 Mass. Facts. prognosis was "guarded.". The Commonwealth asserted a statute of limitations defense in its answer, as well as in its motions for a directed verdict and for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. 1990) (court refused to recognize tort of negligence in adoption context because result not foreseeable). He also testified that a child born to a schizophrenic mother would be fifteen times as likely to develop schizophrenia as a child in the general population.
258, § 10 ( b) (1994 ed. 176 - COMMONWEALTH v. ROBICHEAU, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk. App. harmed by the defendant's conduct. Elizabeth "shows definite evidence [of] retarded growth and
Id. 139, 141-142 (1992), citing A.L. This is not a case where an adoption agency placed a child without discovering and informing the potential adoptive parents about the child's medical and familial background. We note that, like the plaintiffs in this case, none of the plaintiffs in the above-cited cases sought to nullify the adoption decree because of the adoption agency's alleged misrepresentations. According to the plaintiffs, the department's employees told them prior to the adoption that the only background information that would not be disclosed to them was the identity of the biological parents. 657 (1992). If you find there was, all of the case will be applied with respect to the written rules and regulations and that oral policy. Section 7.213 (3) (1994) ("[t]he Department [of Social Services] shall provide the adoptive parent with all relevant information about a child to enable the adoptive parent to knowledgeably, determine whether to accept the child for adoption"). On discharge, responsibility for Elizabeth's care was transferred from the Springfield regional office of the department to its adoption placement unit in Boston, which placed her in the Nazareth Child Care Center for adoption preparation.
This disclosure would be similar to that approved in G. L. c. 210, Section 5D (1994 ed. Burr v. County Comm'rs of Stark County, supra at 78. In the course of obtaining those records, Hazel Mohr first learned that Dr. Guillette had received medical records from the department. For example, in. 1995) (recognizing "wrongful adoption" cause of action grounded in fraud and fraudulent misrepresentation). The Commonwealth asserts that the three year statute of limitations articulated in G.L.c. M. Brooks Co., 351 Mass. at 287. Soc'y of Wis., supra at 32. The plaintiffs did not choose to follow this recommendation. We decide today whether we should recognize a cause of action in tort which would allow adoptive parents the right to seek compensatory damages against an adoption agency for the agency's negligent material misrepresentations of fact prior to adoption concerning the adopted child's history. sought a declaratory decree providing that a conditional contract of sale of an automobile, purportedly executed by Mohr to Suburban Nash, Inc., (Suburban), a dealer in automobiles, and assigned by Suburban to C.I.T. was null and void because the signature thereon was … 96, 99-100 (1993) (duty exists under G.L.c. The discovery rule applies to the plaintiff's tort claims against the Commonwealth. Medical records admitted in evidence indicated that Elizabeth is mentally retarded, with a verbal scale IQ of seventy-seven and a performance scale IQ of fifty-five. On appeal, the Commonwealth contends that the judge should have determined as a matter of law that the statute of limitations barred the plaintiffs' action because the biological mother's history of mental illness was not "inherently unknowable" at the time that Elizabeth's adoption was finalized in 1976. Nine years later, in January, 1984, they decided to have Dr. Hart conduct the inpatient evaluation that he had suggested in 1975. In addition, we believe that this result, rather than inhibiting adoption, will encourage it because "it will give potential parents more confidence in the adoption process and in the accuracy of the information they receive." This need, according to these courts, outweighs any increased burden that is placed on adoption agencies when liability is imposed for negligent as well as intentional misrepresentation. Tests conducted while Elizabeth was an inpatient indicated that she had "moderate cerebral atrophy.". Indeed, in light of the emotional, physical and financial problems that can result from an agency's affirmative misrepresentations about a child's medical and familial background, any increased burden upon adoption agencies is slight. Hospital when Elizabeth was born, with a diagnosis of chronic
See Gibbs v. Ernst, supra at 207 ("The causes of action . 777, 780 (1990). On appeal, the Commonwealth asserts that (1) its failure to disclose the biological mother's mental health history was not inherently unknowable at the time of Elizabeth's adoption in 1976, and that the plaintiffs failed to commence the action within the time allowed by the statute of limitations; (2) this court should decline to recognize a cause of action for wrongful adoption based on negligence; (3) the judge erroneously failed to instruct the jury on comparative negligence; (4) the Commonwealth's decision not to disclose information about Elizabeth's biological mother's history of mental illness was a discretionary function entitling the Commonwealth to immunity pursuant to G. L. c. 258, Section 10 (b) (1994 ed. The jury also found that Tompkins was not liable for an intentional tort. Rather, according to Tompkins, she acted in accordance with an agency policy not to disclose a biological parent's mental illness to prospective adoptive parents. In March, 1974, Pamela Tompkins, the social worker responsible for Elizabeth's adoption placement, notified the plaintiffs that six year old Elizabeth was available for adoption. We agree. Id. See, e.g., Roe v. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Springfield, 225 Ill. App.3d 519, 524, 538 (1992) (agency told three sets of adoptive parents that the particular children they planned to adopt were normal in physical and mental condition as well as level of development, despite its knowledge that children had exhibited violent and uncontrollable behavior while in foster care, and that two children suffered from social and emotional retardation); M.H. 605, 611 (1990), S.C., 411 Mass. 147 (1995) In a landmark case, the Supreme Judicial Court first recognized the right of adoptive parents to assert a claim for wrongful adoption, but found no liability on the part of the social worker who handled the adoption for the Department of Public Welfare, the predecessor state agency to the Department of Social Services. The records also detailed the birth mother's diagnosis of "Schi[z]ophrenic Reaction Chronic Undifferentiated Type manifested by emotional immaturity and instability.". Thus, we do not agree with the Commonwealth that allowing liability for negligent misrepresentation would "burden [State] adoption agencies with greater costs for verification of family histories and discovery of hidden genetic-related conditions." Second, our conclusion applies accepted tort principles to the interactions between adoption agencies and potential adoptive parents during the adoption process. In the absence of a duty, there can be no liability for negligence. at 5). [Note 15] Although Whitney v. Worcester, 373 Mass. . Bowen v. Eli Lilly & Co., 408 Mass. See Harry Stoller & Co. v. Lowell, 412 Mass.
See Gibbs v. Ernst, supra at 211. Bowen v. Eli Lilly & Co., supra at 205-206. parents the right to seek compensatory damages against an adoption
Rather, according to Tompkins, she acted in accordance with an agency policy not to disclose a biological parent's mental illness to prospective adoptive parents. [Note 13]. 222, 228 (1932). Id. Apparently the Commonwealth applies that provision because it assumes that the plaintiffs' cause of action accrued in 1976, before G.L.c. We review a trial court’s grant of summary judgment de novo, City of Indianapolis v. Buschman, 988 N.E.2d 791, 793 (Ind.
We acknowledge that there always are certain risks associated with having a child, whether biologically or through adoption. 258, § 10 ( b). Creating your profile on CaseMine allows you to build your network with fellow lawyers and prospective clients. Elizabeth's abilities were at the twenty-week level and that "[h]er
"However, just as couples must weigh the risks of becoming natural parents, taking into consideration a host of factors, so too should adoptive parents be allowed to make their decision in an intelligent manner." Within a few months after her birth, it became apparent that Elizabeth was missing early developmental milestones. 258. is around 24 weeks and this being the second examination to show retardation, it takes on a more serious import. Indeed, in light of the emotional, physical and financial problems that can result from an. Discussion of cases recognizing a cause of action in tort allowing adoptive
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