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West Virginia Partner J. Philip Fraley Wins Summary Judgment

Litchfield Cavo LLP’s West Virginia office partner J. Philip Fraley won summary judgment on behalf of the firms’ clients who were alleged to have failed to report a sexual relationship between a juvenile client and his Child Protective Services (CPS) case worker. The Plaintiff alleged the client and her employer had reason to believe that such a sexual relationship existed and brought claims against them for negligence, reckless behavior, gross negligence and civil conspiracy.

Phil argued that despite the fact the case was filed as a negligence and conspiracy case, the basis for the case was West Virginia’s Mandatory Reporting Act, W.Va. Code §§ 49-6A-1, et seq. Phil convinced the court that the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia’s holdings in Arbaugh v. Board of Education, 591 S.E.2d 235 (W.Va. 2003), and Barbina v. Curry, 650 S.E.2d 140 (W.Va. 2007), ie, the Mandatory Reporting Act, does not provide a private cause of action, should also apply in this case as the Act serves as the basis for the Plaintiff’s claims.

The Trial Court agreed and granted summary judgment.