I Found DNA in a Hospital in California

Recall that my client’s half-sister now claims that they are not related … and counsel and I agreed to use a DNA laboratory to determine the likelihood of relationship. Problem: the presumed natural father is dead and was cremated … where does my client get a sample of his DNA?

Like most everywhere that I had ever heard of, a death certificate is issued in California for every person that dies. The death certificate is signed by a treating physician, if the person had one before dying. In this case, the natural father died of lung cancer. I had a death certificate, therefore I could track down the doctor. Once I located him, I served him with a subpoena (pursuant to the discovery available to me in litigation California Code of Civil Procedure §2020.410) to produce any DNA material that he might have from the natural father. I also served a notice to produce (California Code of Civil Procedure §2031.010) DNA material on my client’s half-sister, thinking that perhaps there was a comb with hairs on it.

No luck… neither witness nor party had any DNA. I kept looking. I discovered that the natural father had received some treatments at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. After serving a subpoena on the hospital’s pathology lab, they acknowledged having biopsy tissue that could be used for DNA sampling.

In my next post I will detail what happened and how the case was resolved …