LabCorp has extreme difficulty with paternity test

I wrote this post about LabCorp and its difficulty with this particular woman’s paternity test months ago, but I kept finding more timely things to publish instead of this.  Nonetheless, it is an interesting court case and is still relevant.

I have yet another court case that I wrote up months ago that I will publish relatively soon.

In or around 2006, the plaintiff (Berman) asked the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to perform a paternity test on the man (White) she believed was the father of her child and to collect child support from him.  DHS arranged for LabCorp to do the paternity testing.  The test came back that White was not the father.  The test was repeated a second time, with the same result.

The DHS finished its action against White because of the negative paternity tests.  The plaintiff subsequently submitted an envelope supposedly containing White’s DNA to a different lab.

This time the results showed that White actually was the father.  So Berman then filed a paternity suit against White and the court ordered him to undergo yet another paternity test; the results showed again that he was indeed the father.  The court then ruled that he was legally the father of the child based on these results.  White appealed and the Court of Civil Appeals (COCA) affirmed the ruling.

So what happened here exactly?  Well, the plaintiff alleges LabCorp used the wrong identification number for White (the potential father) which led LabCorp to use a completely different man’s DNA for the testing.  Then, for the second test (which also said White was not the father), LabCorp allegedly used the correct identification number but still somehow tested the same incorrect sample it tested the first time.

Ms. Berman then filed suit against LabCorp while the paternity issue was still ongoing, seeking monetary damages for negligence.

During the negligence suit, LabCorp argued the DHS proceeding was quasi-judicial in nature, and that well established case law in Oklahoma shielded it from claims against evidence presented within that proceeding.  The original trial court agreed and dismissed the case against LabCorp, but the plaintiff appealed and eventually, the case made its way to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court decided the trial court made an error when it dismissed the suit against LabCorp.  From the Supreme Court decision:

The importance of reliable and accurate DNA test results cannot be overstated. This type of forensic evidence is becoming part of our jurisprudence, and this trend is not likely to end. Much stands in the balance of the lives of those relying on such test results to protect their legal rights in a court of law. Inaccurate results could deal a devastating blow to those who otherwise have no ability to prove their cases on their own. Without recourse against a negligent defendant, a plaintiff has no remedy. Berman stands in that position in her relationship with LabCorp. Inaccurate results proved fatal to her case in her DHS proceeding. She was forced to pursue further legal action at her own expense. Her risk was foreseeable, and LabCorp owed her a duty to prevent that risk of harm.

We, therefore, hold LabCorp owed a duty to Berman to perform accurate DNA testing for purposes of determining the paternity of her child. The trial court erred in granting summary judgment. We, therefore, reverse and remand this case for trial.

As the first paragraph from the part of the opinion I posted above states, this type of DNA testing is used in forensic laboratories all the time.  It is absolutely terrifying to me that a simple mix up involving an identification number on a sample, like what allegedly happened in this case, could potentially lead to the prolonged incarceration or even the execution of an innocent person.

While I have not seen the outcome of the negligence trial yet, it would seem LabCorp is fighting an uphill battle, given what the OK Supreme Court said in its decision:

LabCorp tested the DNA of a completely different man…

and

Comparison of the lab results show, without doubt, that two different men were tested…

I’ll keep my eye out for the trial verdict and will update you all when it becomes available.

Berman v. Laboratory Corporation of America, 2011 OK 106 – Okla: Supreme Court 2011

Comments

  1. mary strong says:

    my name is Mary Strong there was a DNA Testing done my Dauther Brittany Anderson in 1992 that said 99.83% This Arterlee Anderson Is The Father But the court in chicago illinois child support will not make him pay childsupport if you would like a copy of the test send me a fax number please some one help

  2. elizabeth says:

    I had my labcorp dna test done through dhs and the results came back negative, saying the man that was tested is NOT the father. I don’t understand it one bit because he is the ONLY person I’ve slept with.

    • Leahmarie says:

      My son was tested march of 2012 sort of the same situation. I am pretty awe struck myself. I have been put through hell for the last few years. It is humbling knowing i am not the only woman out here that has been tested by labcorp and came out “not knowing who my baby daddy is”. Best of luck to you

  3. Jen Williams says:

    This Happened to me. That case sounds just like the nightmare my son I have lived with for 12 years. I am going do something this year. Its hard when you don’t have a lot of money. Wish me luck. You might see me on here. I hope I can find a Lawyer that believes me.

  4. danielle miller says:

    i just got the results back saying neither of the two men i been with was not the father, one guy i was engaged to for couple yrs then seperated after i was pregnant and was with the guy month before. im having the dna tested at a diff lab cuz i done research on labcorp idk how their still in business

  5. Michelle R. Cooke says:

    Hello,
    My name is Michelle and I was test by Labcorp in 2012 in Henrico, VA 23228. The test results came back that the male tested was not the father and I know for a fact he is with evidence but, no one will believe me. I have been in an emotional confused state for 13 years. Relatives and others say I do not know who my son father is. Yes, I do in fact I truly believe the male in question knows as well. After, the testing he left the state and I have not heard from ever again. Please help me no one will listen to me not even Child Support Enforcement after I showed them evidence I was with him. They say DNA is correct-not if the nurse made up.

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