A public defender attacked by her client, a patient at a mental hospital, has no viable federal constitutional rights claim against the state, an appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

Although Department of Human Services officials’ indifference to known dangers created a dangerous working environment at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, they are entitled to qualified immunity because the plaintiff was not entitled to an affirmative duty of care, the Appellate Division held in Gormley v. Wood-El , A-3894-09.

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