Cited Article

The DNA Paternity Test: Legislating the Future Paternity Action

Case Citation

Zearfoss v. Frattaroli, 646 A.2d 1238 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1994)


The fact-specific holding “In an action for child support, summary judgment in favor of a mother was erroneous because blood tests were not conclusive evidence of the father's paternity, but were only one factor in the totality ofthe evidence presented on the question.”

Citing Quote

An affirmative finding of paternity with the same certainty cannot be obtained from blood antigen tests, such as were performed in the instant case. Typing red and white blood cell antigens reveals the extent to which an alleged father and child share selected cellular, biomechanical properties. From the results of blood cell antigen tests it is sometimes possible to deduce, with a high degree of reliability, that an alleged father is not the biological father. It is never possible from the same tests, however, to deduce with the same certainty that a particular man fathered a particular child. Stahli v. Wittman, 412 Pa. Super. 281, 603 A.2d 583, alloc. denied, 533 Pa. 601, 617 A.2d 1275 (1992). DNA tests have the potential for being highly accurate because each individual's DNA is unique, and thus an acceptable "match" of DNA strands between a putative father and child can exclude a much larger population of potential fathers than does an HLA test. See E. Donald Shapiro, Stewart Refler, and Claudia Psome, The DNA Paternity Test: Legislating the Future Paternity Action, 7 Journal of Law and Health 1 (1993) (hereinafter "Paternity Test"); see also Mastromatteo v. Harkins, 419 Pa.Super. 329, 335, 615 A.2d 390, 393 (1992) (DNA paternity evidence can more accurately identify putative father as biological father and is thus not cumulative of HLA tests), alloc denied, 535 Pa. 648, 633 A.2d 152 (1993).

Article Publication Date