Court Appoionted Psychologist Enjoys Quasi-Immunity, Ky Court of Appeals

J.S V. BERLA

While not a family court case, as an action against a court appointed psychologist, this case is important to family law practitioners.

A father filed an action against a court appointed psychologist making a custody evaluation. The father alleged slander and libel arguing the psychologist did not act in good faith in making a  verbal report to the CFHFS and in her written Custodial Evaluation Report. The father also argued the psychologist  breached the good faith and fair dealing contractual requirement of the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”). The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the psychologist.

The Appellate Court affirms the Trial Court holding there was not sufficient evidence to prove the psychologist was not acting in good faith or was acting with knowledge of falsity. The Appellate Court holds a court-appointed psychologist is given quasi-judicial immunity in order to complete the job effectively and immunity applied in the case at hand. The Appellate Court also points out that a court-appointed task is not one that falls under the authority of the UCC, hence summary judgment was appropriate.

Digested by Elizabeth M. Howell