Is Contract for Support An Illegitimate Child Obtained As a Result of ''fear of Paternity Proceeding'' Enforceable ?

In Schumm v. Berg, 37 Cal.2d 174, 231 P.2d 39 (1951), the supreme court of California held that the expressed intention of the mother of an illegitimate child to institute a paternity proceeding against the putative father if he did not enter into a contract for the support of the child did not make the contract unenforceable as having been obtained by a threat to expose the affair and injure the father's reputation. The father was a wealthy celebrity who would suffer unfavorable publicity if the paternity suit was brought and the facts of the affair were made public. The Schumm court found that the complaint did not allege that the mother would injure his character if he did not enter into the contract. Rather, it alleged that she would commence a suit, a right she clearly had. "A sufference by him of unfavorable publicity would only be an incident of the suit." Schumm, 37 Cal. 2d at 185-86, 231 P.2d at 45.