Eighth Circuit Tosses Switched-At-Birth Case

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Two people born in the same hospital on the same day have run out of time to sue the federal government for switching them at birth, the 8th Circuit ruled.

Throughout their lives, Beverly Bowker and Rowena Madrigal heard rumors of the switch. They were born on the morning of July 27, 1946, at Standing Rock Hospital in Fort Yates, N.D.

Madrigal's mother went so far as to say she "belonged with the Bowkers." When the two met in their 20s, Bowker noticed that Madrigal looked similar to her brother.

In 2002, Michael Ryan, the man who raised Madrigal, sought DNA paternity testing to determine if he is her biological father. The test results said there is a zero percent chance, but there was a 99.4 percent chance that he is Bowker's father.

Ryan and the two daughters sued the government, but the district court ruled that the statute of limitations has expired. They had only two years to file a claim, and the court ruled that because they suspected the switch as early as the 1970s, they waited too long.

"The statute of limitations is designed to guard against just the sort of difficulties that would be presented by attempting to litigate this case more than 60 years after the alleged injuries occurred," the court concluded in a per curiam opinion.

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