A.G.’s complaint states that on January 6. 2015, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department entered A.G.’s father’s home and used a Taser on his father, who was mentally ill, because he would not stop singing in his bathroom. A.G.’s father died as a result. The California Superior Court improperly dismissed A.G.’s wrongful death claim solely because A.G.’s father was not his biological or adoptive father, even though he was A.G.’s presumed legal father under California law.
Pickett had cared for A.G. as his son since infancy, treating A.G. and his biological children equally. Pickett described A.G. to family and to others as his son, having stated, “[w]e’re going to treat [A.G.] as though he is my biological son. I’m taking the role as his father.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) filed an amicus brief together with the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, Los Angeles LGBTQ Center, and legal scholars arguing that the Los Angeles Superior Court ruling denying A.G.’s wrongful death claim violates both the U.S. and California Constitutions by discriminating against children with legal parents who are not biological or adoptive parents.
Although the parents in this case were a different-sex couple, the trial court’s ruling would have had far-reaching negative effects on children with same-sex parents. It would also be devastating for children conceived using assisted reproduction.Thankfully, the California Court of Appeal reversed and sent the case back to consider A.G.’s claim.