Schulkers v. Kammer

Just before a mother gives birth, Kentucky hospital staff test her urine, which comes back positive for opiates. Social workers visit, tell parents that all of their children (including the healthy new baby) will be removed unless they agree to a prevention plan prohibiting the mother from spending time alone with her children. They reluctantly agree. Subsequent testing reveals the test to be a false positive, but the social workers refuse to release the family from the prevention plan for two months. In the meantime, they interview the other children at school without warrants, asking them about “mommy using drugs.” Sixth Circuit: Our precedent is unclear about the constitutionality of the interviews, so qualified immunity. But going forward, be on notice that that violates the Fourth Amendment. As for the prevention plan shenanigans—no qualified immunity.

Tags: 2020, Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity, Sixth Circuit

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