Justia Juvenile Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Health Law
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The case involves Amber C., the mother of a two-year-old child, Kieran S., who appealed from the juvenile court’s jurisdiction findings and disposition orders after the court sustained a petition by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. The petition was filed under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, subdivision (b), alleging that Amber's substance abuse posed a substantial risk of serious physical harm to Kieran. The Department received a referral in April 2019, stating that the parents used drugs in the child's presence. Amber tested positive for amphetamine, methamphetamine, and morphine. Despite her positive test results, Amber denied using methamphetamine and claimed she did not use any drugs while with Kieran. After failing to cooperate with welfare checks and evading the Department, Amber absconded with Kieran.The juvenile court sustained counts under section 300, subdivision (b), alleging Amber abused substances, failed to protect Kieran from Victor’s mental and emotional issues, and absconded with Kieran. At the disposition hearing, the juvenile court declared Kieran a dependent child of the court, removed him from his parents, ordered Amber to attend a drug treatment program, and ordered reunification services. Amber appealed from the jurisdiction findings and disposition orders, arguing that there was no evidence she was under the influence of drugs when Kieran was detained and that there was no evidence of neglect or risk of harm to Kieran in her care.The Supreme Court granted Amber’s petition for review and transferred the case back to the Court of Appeal with directions to vacate its prior decision and reconsider Amber’s appeal in light of In re N.R., which held that substance abuse is not prima facie evidence of a parent’s inability to provide regular care to a child of tender years. The Court of Appeal found that substantial evidence supported the juvenile court’s finding Amber’s drug abuse created a substantial risk of physical harm to Kieran and affirmed the juvenile court’s jurisdiction findings and disposition orders. View "In re Kieran S." on Justia Law

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Vilches, the father and guardian of Doe (age 7), took her to Leao for treatment. Vilches later sued Leao to compel the release of Doe’s therapy records. Under Health and Safety Code 123110, the personal representative of a minor is entitled to access the minor’s patient records unless “[t]he health care provider determines that access to the patient records ... would have a detrimental effect on the provider’s professional relationship with the minor patient or the minor's physical safety or psychological well-being. The decision of the health care provider ... shall not attach any liability to the provider unless the decision is found to be in bad faith. Leao indicated she had determined that it would have a detrimental impact on Doe’s ability to trust in general, and would negatively impact the patient-counselor relationship. She was also concerned that Vilches would use the records to coach his daughter's responses in a court evaluation in an upcoming custody proceeding.The court of appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of Leao, rejecting an argument that the absence of bad faith does not immunize a therapist’s determination from judicial review and that section 123110 creates a presumption of entitlement to disclosure. The statute does not require separate determinations for each type of patient record. When the provider makes the detriment determination, a plaintiff must show bad faith to compel disclosure. View "Vilches v. Leao" on Justia Law

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Federal Medicaid funds are not available for state medical expenditures made on behalf of “any individual who is an inmate of a public institution (except as a patient in a medical institution),” 42 U.S.C. 1396d(a)(29)(A). "Inmate of a public institution" means a person who is living in a public institution. However, an individual living in a public institution is not an “inmate of a public institution” if he resides in the public institution “for a temporary period pending other arrangements appropriate to his needs.” Ohio submitted a proposed plan amendment aimed at exploiting this distinction: it sought to classify pretrial detainees under age 19 as noninmates, living in a public institution for only “a temporary period pending other arrangements appropriate to [their] needs,” for whom the state could claim Medicaid reimbursement. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rejected the amendment, finding that the inmate exclusion recognizes “no difference” between adults and juveniles, or convicted detainees and those awaiting trial. The Sixth Circuit denied a petition for review, agreeing that the involuntary nature of the stay is the determinative factor. The exception does not apply when the individual is involuntarily residing in a public institution awaiting adjudication of a criminal matter. View "Ohio Department of Medicaid v. Price" on Justia Law

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During her second grade year and after three years of disagreement between school officials and her parents over requests for certain disability accommodations for A.C., a minor with Type 1 diabetes,the principal made reports to Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services alleging that the parents were medically abusing A.C. The parents filed suit, claiming that the principal’s reports were made in retaliation to their disability accommodation requests and violated the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 2 U.S.C. 12203 and 29 U.S.C. 794(a). The district court found that the parents did not prove a prima facie element of their case and could not prove that the reasons given for making the child-abuse reports were a pretext for retaliation. The Sixth Circuit reversed, stating that the district court prematurely placed on the parents the burden of rebutting the school’s stated reasons for its actions. Evidence of falsity in the reports of abuse coupled with the temporal proximity of those reports to requests for accommodations is sufficient to permit an inference of causation. View "A.C.v. Shelby Cnty. Bd. of Educ." on Justia Law