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Lab is immune from liability for falsely reporting plaintiff positive for HIV and Hepatitis B

The Detroit Biomedical Laboratories confused the blood sample of Amira Abouhassan with someone else's sample, and reported that she was positive for HIV and Hepatitis B.  After surviving the scare of her life and establishing that she was in fact negative for these conditions, Amira sued the Lab for defamation, tortious interference with a business relationship and negligence.  Not surprisingly, Judge Henry Saad and another Judge rejected her claim and found the lab immune from suit.  We say "not surprisingly" because Judge Saad never saw an insurance defense that he didn't like.

In this case, the two judges who upheld an immunity defense pointed to the statute that mandates reporting of positive tests for these viruses and grants immunity to the lab that makes the report.  While that certainly explains dismissal of the defamation claim (and the lack of demonstrated "intent" justifies the dismissal of the tortious interference claim) Judge Shapiro pointed out that nothing in the statute would warrant granting immunity to the Lab for its own lack of due care or negligence.  Judge Shapiro pointed out the overwhelming evidence confirming that another individual's sample had been confused with Amira's and would have held that the statutory immunity granted for passing on "defamatory" information does not immunize a party for negligently confusing Amira's blood sample with the sample of another individual.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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