How Mandatory Reporting Can Lead to Liability

October 27, 2023 | Aging Services Risk Management

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​A home care worker sued her former employer—the corporate defendant—and the director of operations (DOO) for negligent supervision, negligent hiring, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

In 2019, the DOO suspected that the plaintiff was diverting pain medications from her hospice patients. Before the completion of the investigation, the DOO reported her suspicions to the local police, the Department of Health, and the Board of Nursing. Ultimately, the investigation did not lead to criminal charges or formal disciplinary actions against the plaintiff's license. The plaintiff sued, and the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment (MSJ) on all counts, claiming immunity under the law for reporting their suspicions. The trial court granted the MSJ for the claims of negligent hiring, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, finding that they were time-barred or could not be proven. The trial court denied the corporate defendant's MSJ for the negligent supervision claim; the defendant was not entitled to immunity under four statutes: the Colorado Professions Act (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-20-402(1)(2022)); the Nurse Practice Act (Colo. Rev. § 12-255-123(2)(2022); the Mandatory Reporter statute (Colo. Rev. State § 18-6-5-108(3); and the Duty to Report statute (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-7-115 (2022)). The corporate defendant filed a motion for reconsideration with...

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