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Turner v. Nelson

342 S.W.3d 866 (2011)

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Turner v. Nelson

Kentucky Supreme Court

342 S.W.3d 866 (2011)

Facts

Dianne Turner (plaintiff) was a kindergarten teacher with 25 years of experience. C.Y. and F.B. were two five-year-old girls in Turner’s class. F.B.’s mother, Nelson, called Turner to report that F.B. complained that C.Y. had been “up her butt.” Turner believed the event involved a childish wedgie but separated C.Y. and F.B. in class, forbade them from spending time together at school, notified her classroom assistant to keep the girls separated, and spoke to C.Y. about avoiding inappropriate touching. F.B. subsequently reported two other incidents of inappropriate touching by C.Y. to her family members. Turner did not witness any of the alleged incidents. Nelson then reported the incidents to both the school principal and to the police. Nelson also took F.B. to the hospital for a medical examination, which found minor genital irritation but no tears or bruising. Nelson sued Turner, arguing that Turner failed to fulfill her mandatory reporting requirements to report the alleged sexual assault of F.B. by C.Y. to law enforcement. Turner countered, arguing that she had discretion about whether to make the report because the mandatory reporting statute only applied to alleged abuse of children by parents, guardians, or custodial figures, not by other children. The trial court granted Turner summary judgment, holding that she had qualified official immunity because her decision not to report under the circumstances was discretionary. On appeal, the appellate court reversed, holding that qualified immunity did not apply to the mandatory reporting requirement. Turner appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Scott, J.)

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