Thursday, August 8, 2013

Unwed Biological Father Cannot Be Held Responsible for Negligence of State Agency.

In re: Baby T, R.C.A. v. A.O.L., 2012 UT 78, Utah Supreme Court, November 23, 2012

Shaud submitted a paternity action with the State Office of Vital Statistics 5 days prior to Mother’s relinquishment, however his documents were not filed by the clerk until 45 minutes after Mother relinquished the child for adoption.  Shaud was found by the trial court not to have fully complied with Utah law §78B-6-121 because the statute places on the unwed biological Father the who responsibility and requires him to be responsible for third parties. and was therefore denied the opportunity to withhold consent and intervene in the adoption action of Baby Girl T.  Shaud appeals.

The Supreme Court found that the Statute as Applied to Shaud violates his Constitutional right to Due Process.  Because Shaud had no control of the documents after they were filed the Supreme Court found that his documents should be deemed filed at the time there were sent to the Office of Vital Statistics because at that point Shaud had completed with all that he could do to comply with Utah Code §78B-6-121.

Reversed and Remanded.

Justice Lee dissents arguing that the Due Process argument was not properly preserved.

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