Principles of Res Ipsa Loquitur Apply to Proof of Child Abuse and Neglect
Examines the Texas Court of Civil Appeals for Dallas’s case Higgins v. Dallas County Child Welfare Unit. The court in Higgins held that the principles of res ipsa loquitur may be applied to prove termination is warranted for child abuse and neglect. A two-part test was adopted: “First, the party seeking to terminate the parent-child relationship must show serious injury or detriment to the child's health that would normally not occur in the absence of parental abuse or neglect. Second, the party must show parental control of the child during the time that the injuries are alleged to have occurred.” The author is unsure whether an affirmative finding of these elements terminates parental rights or provides a rebuttable inference of abuse or neglect.