Teen Sues Mother for ID of Father
The teen, known as "Minor J." in court records, wants to check for any family illnesses. And the U.S. Constitution, Baskin argues, guarantees him the right to know that information, as does the U.S. Supreme Court. He cited a 1973 Supreme Court ruling, Gomez v. Torres, 409 U.S. 5353, in which the court held that an illegitimate child has a legal right to sue his father for support because he's entitled to equal protection under the law.
According to attorneys for both sides, Minor J. learned in 2004 from two DNA tests that his mother's ex-husband -- the man he thought was his father -- was not his biological parent. The parents had divorced in 1995. In 2004, the ex-husband went to court to end child support payments after DNA tests revealed he wasn't the father.
Putman's legal argument rests on the legitimacy of Minor J. She claims he is a legitimate child who has no standing to sue. She cited a 1988 Michigan Court of Appeals case, Puffpaff v. Hull, 169 Mich App. 688, in which the court held that a legitimate child does not have standing to pursue a paternity action. She also cited Michigan's Paternity Act, which holds that only illegitimate children can sue to have child support established.
It will be interesting to see how the court handles this. The individual rights argument is compelling, albeit a bit confusing with the approach from a child support angle. The child is not really pursuing a paternity action, but a...what? It's not a public records request. It's a personal right to private information. But who has the right...who does the private information belong to?
As the child of an adopted parent, I am particularly interested in the claims of a right to health information. I have suffered some strange medical conditions lately that make me wonder if my birth grandfather and his family would hold any answers.