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Coleman v. Martinez

New Jersey Supreme Court

July 15, 2021

A tragic series of events led the New Jersey Supreme Court to issue a critical ruling regarding the duty of care in a negligence action. The case started with the Department of Child Protection and Permanency separating a mother from her children and referring the mother to the plaintiff, a licensed social worker. The plaintiff never referred the mother for treatment. Later, the mother brutally stabbed the defendant, a DCP&P employee, because the mother felt that the defendant was hurting her chances of being reunited with her children. The trial court held that the plaintiff-social worker had no duty of care to the defendant-employee. But the Supreme Court disagreed. Basing its opinion largely on J.S. v. R.T.H., the Court held that the attack was reasonably foreseeable and that N.J.S.A. 2A:62A-16 did not prohibit the plaintiff from disclosing the information.

Scroll down to read the court's full opinion
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