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In re M.L.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
757 A.2d 849 (2000)


K. L. (plaintiff) and R. G. (defendant) never married but had a relationship that resulted in the birth of a child, M. L. A custody dispute ended with K. L. receiving primary physical custody and R. G. receiving partial custody every other weekend. Thereafter, K. L. began routinely contacting Children and Youth Services (CYS) to complain that R. G. failed to properly care for M. L. during her weekends with him. Additionally, K. L. subsequently alleged on six separate occasions that R. G. had sexually abused M. L. However, despite numerous physical examinations conducted at a hospital emergency room and a physician’s office, no abuse was ever validated. Instead, medical personnel reported that K. L.’s mental health had deteriorated to the point that she was subjecting M. L. to unnecessary physical examinations. Nevertheless, CYS filed a petition for dependency in trial court. Following two evidentiary hearings, the court declared M. L. to be a dependent child and concluded that K. L.’s mental-health issues were endangering M. L. The trial court placed M. L. in the care of R. G. R. G. readily accepted custody of M. L. but appealed the trial court’s declaration of M. L. as a dependent child. The appellate court disagreed and affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Castille, J.)

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