Thursday, July 24, 2008

SC Court of Appeals issues opinion on duty to report abuse of vulnerable adult

In Williams v. Watkins, the court of appeals considered an order granting summary judgment in favor of Babcock Center and its employee, Nancy Watkins, on Carrie and Robert Williamses' claims for defamation and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. The issue in the case was whether the South Carolina’s Omnibus Adult Protection Act shields Babcock Center and Watkins from civil liability for claims stemming from their reporting the suspected abuse of a vulnerable adult.

The court of appeals affirmed the grant of summary judgment. Watkins and the Center learned of allegations of sexual abuse made by a disabled child. Believing these allegations to be credible, they reported the allegations to authorities under the Omnibus Adult Protection Act. Because in their positions as social workers the defendants were required to report, they were shielded from civil liability under the Act.

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