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Hammer Obtains Summary Judgment in MedMal Case; Murphy-Petros Secures Affirmance on Appeal

April 1, 2019

Melissa Murphy-Petros (Partner-Chicago) succeeded on appeal in a case in which Scott Hammer (Of Counsel-Chicago) obtained summary judgment on the ground that our client-psychologist was entitled to absolute judicial immunity from suit because she was a court-appointed expert and thus was acting as an extension of the court. The plaintiff alleged that our client was negligent in the child custody evaluation she conducted as a court-appointed expert in plaintiff's divorce proceedings. The appellate court reasoned that the psychologist committed all of the complained-of acts after being appointed as the court's expert and "in pursuit of her duties to perform an independent investigation as to issues of custody and visitation, provide the court and the parties with her findings, and to testify at trial."  The court found further that neither of the two recognized exceptions to absolute judicial immunity applied; all our client’s actions were taken in her capacity as a court-appointed expert and she had jurisdiction for her actions under section 604(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.   

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