Handling Lost/Destroyed Records in Child Welfare Tort Litigation

A recently published article in the American Bar Association’s Child Law Practice examines the potential effects of failing to preserve or produce evidence in the child welfare context. Best practices are offered from three perspectives—the plaintiff, the defending agency, and the court.

Litigation involving public and private social services agencies should make administrators and attorneys keenly aware of the obligation to preserve evidence. Across the country, torts regarding individual children in the child welfare system are common.

Professor Daniel Pollack and his co-author Associate Professor Dale Margolin explain that while lost records are common in child welfare torts, the issue has long been overlooked by litigators and courts. Recently, however, it is starting to receive attention. Attorneys and judges must be mindful of incomplete, altered, and destroyed case records. This includes taking preventative steps, while also being prepared to ask for evidentiary and other sanctions or pursuing separate tort actions when lost or destroyed records are harming a party.

Contact Professor Pollack by email for a copy of this timely in-depth article.

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