On July 17, 2006, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Dubay v Wells et al., stating:
“According to the pleadings, Dubay commenced a personal relationship with defendant Lauren Wells, dated her, engaged in intimate sexual relations, impregnated her, terminated his relationship, and sued her for bearing his child. If chivalry is not dead, its viability is gravely imperiled by the plaintiff in this case.”
The lawsuit, often described as "Roe v Wade for Men," was filed by Matthew Dubay in the United States District Court at Bay City, Michigan. Dubay claimed that Michigan's paternity law is unconstitutional because the father is compelled to pay child support even if he did not want the child to be born.
Dubay argued that he could choose not to pay child support because he told the mother of the child while they were dating that he did not want a child. He claimed that she told him that she was on birth control or was otherwise infertile. When the Saginaw County Prosecutor filed a paternity action, Dubay filed a lawsuit against him seeking to avoid his enforcement of the Paternity Act. The mother of the child was also named as a defendant. Michigan’s Attorney General, Mike Cox, intervened in the case to uphold the Paternity Act.
In the District Court, Dubay's suit was ruled frivolous and attorney fees were ordered.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the State did not violate a constitutionally protected right to privacy that had been the underlying basis of Dubay’s claim. The Court stated that "[t]he fundamental flaw in Dubay's claim is that he fails to see that the State played no role in the conception or birth of the child in this case, or in the decisions that resulted in the birth of the child." The Court relied upon N.E. v Hedges, 391 F3d 832 (6th Cir 2004), a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals case that rejected the notion that some sense of fairness ought to allow biological fathers to avoid the financial responsibility of supporting a child as a proxy for the loss of control of the events that naturally flow from sexual activity. Dubay's claims against all of the defendants were dismissed.
The court agreed with the Attorney General that Dubay’s case was frivolous, holding that the action was "frivolous, unreasonable, and without foundation and seeks to advance a theory that is foreign to the legal principles on which it is ostensibly based." The Attorney General is to submit a claim for his office's attorney fees.
Dubay v Wells (District Court Opinion & Order) is here. Download Dubay_v_Wells_Opinion_Order ED Mich
The 6th Circuit Court upheld the equal protection opinion of the District Court. Download Dubay_v_Well, 6th Circuit Court Opinion The Attorney General was awarded sanctions in the 6th Circuit Case.
Parentage issues have long been of special interest to Jeanne Hannah. To contact Jeanne Hannah with your questions or to view her Family Law website, click here.