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LAUREL NICHOLS v. RICHARD HORN (05/12/87)

filed: May 12, 1987.

LAUREL NICHOLS
v.
RICHARD HORN, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, Civil Division, No. 85-21064.

COUNSEL

Marc S. Drier, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Dudley N. Anderson, Williamsport, for appellee.

Wieand, Olszewski and Tamilia, JJ. Wieand, J. concurs in the result.

Author: Tamilia

[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 302]

On May 14, 1979, a child was born to appellee, Laurel Nichols. She instituted an action for support on September 19, 1985 alleging appellant, Richard Horn, was the father of the child. Appellant filed an answer and new matter raising the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense and on January 24, 1986, moved for summary judgment. Appellee, on January 28, 1986, filed a praecipe to discontinue and the court, by Order dated January 29, 1986, dismissed the petition without prejudice. Appellee then filed a new petition on January 30, 1986. Appellant filed a motion to strike the discontinuance pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 229(c). The court, by Order, denied the motion and this appeal followed.

The particular circumstance which prompted appellee's action was the expansion of the statute of limitations for paternity actions from six to eighteen years. The statute in effect at the time appellee filed her original action was 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6704(e) which provided:

(e) Limitation of actions. -- All actions to establish the paternity of a child born out of wedlock brought under

[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 303]

    this section must be commenced within six years of the birth of the child, except where the reputed father shall have voluntarily contributed to the support of the child or shall have acknowledged in writing his paternity, in which case an action may be commenced at any time within two years of any such contribution or acknowledgement by the reputed father.

23 Pa.C.S.A. Chapter 43 was enacted by Act 1985, October 30, P.L. 264, No. 66, § 1. This repealed the statute of limitations established under 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6704(e) and provided for an expanded limitations period. The statute became effective on January 28, 1986 and provided in pertinent part:

23 Pa.C.S.A. § 4343. Paternity

(b) Limitation of actions. -- An action or proceeding under this chapter to establish the paternity of a child born out of wedlock must be commenced within 18 ...


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