Drug-Test Lab Can Be Held Liable for Erroneous Report on Offender: Court


A drug-testing laboratory can be held liable for the extra time an offender spent on probation because it falsely reported that he had tested positive for marijuana, New York State’s highest court ruled yesterday, 4-3, the New York Law Journal reports. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said the Louisiana-based Kroll Laboratory Specialists should not evade responsibility for its allegedly negligent testing of Eric Landon’s sample. A false positive drug test result can have “profound, potentially life-altering, consequences for a test subject” and the laboratory is in the “best position to prevent false positive results,” Lippman said.

Dissenting Judge Eugene Pigott Jr. said the court was defining the laboratory’s duty “too broadly” and that if Landon has a claim, it is against Orange County, which contracted with the lab. “Kroll did not know that plaintiff was the person whose sample was being tested, nor did plaintiff know that Kroll was the one doing the test,” he said, adding that the court is creating a new “negligent testing cause of action” which “opens the door to a host of allegations of a similar nature in areas too numerous to contemplate.”

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