Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Prato-Morrison v. Doe case brief

Prato-Morrison v. Doe case brief summary
126 Cal.Rptr.2d 509 (2002)

Appellants, the couple, filed a complaint to determine whether they were the genetic parents of the family's twins and to obtain custody, as well as to compel blood tests and obtain the right to visit the twins. The family sought protective orders and moved to quash the complaint. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, California, granted the family's motion to quash and dismissed the complaint. The couple appealed.


The couple engaged the services of a fertility clinic, to no avail, and ultimately abandoned their efforts to conceive, believing their unused genetic materials would be destroyed. When the clinic later became the target of an investigation into its widespread misuse of genetic materials, the couple sued the clinic and settled their claims. The couple embarked on a campaign to intrude into the lives of another fertility clinic family (the family) who might have innocently received the couple's genetic material. The couple unsuccessfully sued the family.


  • On appeal, the couple claimed the trial court should have either admitted their inadmissible evidence or otherwise concluded that the couple's curiosity justified a further intrusion into the family's lives. 
  • The court of appeal held that the couple's evidence was properly excluded as inadmissible hearsay that did not satisfy the requirements of the business record exception, and that they did not show any link at all to the family's daughters. 
  • The court of appeal also held that, assuming a genetic connection between the couple and the twins, the best interests of the children dictated the result reached by the trial court.

The order of dismissal was affirmed. The family was awarded their costs of appeal.

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