Superior Court Rules for Dr. Stephen Doyne in Dismissed False Credentials Lawsuit

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Ruling demonstrates court’s support of immunity for custody evaluators

the undisputed record shows that Dr. Doyne was fully qualified to serve as a custody evaluator based on his professional credentials and experience.

A Superior Court Judge awarded Stephen Doyne, Ph.D. $202,895 in additional legal fees and costs after the Appellate and Supreme Courts upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a baseless suit against the custody evaluator in a family court case. Doyne, a well-respected San Diego forensic psychologist, has now been awarded fees totaling $300,000 through two Court decisions ruling in his favor.

Court appointed mental health professionals are given quasi-judicial immunity, including protection from lawsuits. Dr. Doyne was Court appointed to conduct a custody evaluation in 2005 and a former client, unhappy with Dr. Doyne’s findings, filed a civil lawsuit in 2008 claiming Dr. Doyne’s credentials were false. A Superior Court Judge dismissed the suit against Dr. Doyne based on evidence and the concept of quasi-judicial immunity for custody evaluators, awarding Dr. Doyne $86,135 in legal fees and more than $10,000 in interest.

The Fourth District Appellate Court affirmed the lower court’s decision, noting “the undisputed record shows that Dr. Doyne was fully qualified to serve as a custody evaluator based on his professional credentials and experience.”

“Two Superior Court Judges, three Appellate Court Justices and the Supreme Court all found that a qualified psychologist can serve the Family Courts to help in difficult custody cases without fear of retaliation,” Dr. Doyne said. “This is not a victory for me, but for the thousands of divorcing parents who seek the Court’s help protecting their children’s best interests. I’ve built my 30-year career standing up for children in the Family Courts and I’m not about to stand down now because of baseless claims.”

The San Diego Superior Court ruling (Case No:37-2008-00093885-CU-BT-CTL) was made on July 27, 2012.

Dr. Doyne has helped thousands of children, adolescents and adults through difficult family disputes through his private practice in La Jolla, California. Dr. Doyne offers counseling for adults, couples and children and specializes in working with divorcing families. Please visit http://drstephendoyne.com for more information about Dr. Doyne.

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