Lavit v. Superior Court
In Lavit v. Superior Court, 173 Ariz. 96, 99, 839 P.2d 1141, 1144 (App. 1992), a father brought an action against a psychologist who had conducted a child custody evaluation, claiming that the psychologist had made a biased custody evaluation favoring the mother. Id. at 98, 839 P.2d at 1143.
The psychologist brought a motion for summary judgment, arguing that judicial immunity protected him in his role as a court-appointed psychologist. Id.
After the trial court denied that motion, the Court reversed and held that the psychologist was entitled to judicial immunity. Id. at 101, 839 P.2d at 1146.
The Court reasoned that the psychologist's evaluations and recommendations aided the trial court in determining custody and that his services were performed pursuant to a court order. Id.
The Court further reasoned that without such immunity, "professionals risk exposure to lawsuits whenever they perform quasi-judicial duties" and that such exposure to liability "could deter their acceptance of court appointments or color their recommendations." Id. at 99, 839 P.2d at 1144.