We got this note from Ed Modell, JD, PCC, who is a member of Global ICF Board and very active in the MetroDC chapter of the ICF. He wrote [ed. note: emphasis mine]:

This email is about a lawsuit I have been aware of in US Federal court in Virginia involving a life coach, or at least someone who was designated by a counseling center where she worked as a life coach.

Friday, February 6, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, issued an opinion which upholds the lower court’s decision in favor of the life coach. The case basically deals with the coach reporting a client to the local Department of Social Service for suspected child abuse of the client’s children. Both the lower court in Alexandria, Virginia, and the court of appeals found that while the coach was not a mandatory reporter of suspected child abuse, under Virginia law, the coach was immune from any legal claims against her so long as she did not report the client out of bad faith, which she did not do in this case. The Fourth Circuit opinion also has some other helpful language at least from a future regulatory standpoint in that it held that life coaching is not considered to be medical care.

It is important to bear in mind that this case was decided under Virginia law and should not be generalized to consider how a similar case might be decided in another US state or in another country.

For those of you who want more details, I have put together a two-page summary on the case and the Fourth Circuit opinion which you can access on the ICF Metro DC website here.

We are grateful to Ed for keeping the community up-to-date with this info and to to the Court for its sensitivity in this matter.