Evidence keyed to Waltz
Atkinson v. Hall
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The defendant dated the plaintiff off and on from December 1970 until October 1971. They went to Connecticut together in September 1971 and engaged in sexual intercourse. The defendant soon returned to Maine and did not see the plaintiff until she visited him in jail. He testified that during the visit the plaintiff told him she was going to marry Gerald Marshall (“Mr. Marshall”), and she was pregnant with Mr. Marshall’s child. The plaintiff testified that she was pregnant with the plaintiff’s child and told him so during the visit. The child was born on July 20, 1972, and the name on his birth certificate was Jay Alan Marshall. Mr. Marshall was listed as the father on the birth certificate, and a certificate of baptism also listed Mr. Marshall as the father. The plaintiff and Mr. Marshall were divorced five to eight months after the child’s birth. The divorce decree required Mr. Marshall to pay child support, of which he made one payment. The size and weight of the c hild were consistent with Mr. Marshall being the father. Blood tests submitted to the jury showed a probability of 98.27 percent that the defendant was the father. A blood test was not conducted on Mr. Marshall. The plaintiff sued the defendant seeking child support. The plaintiff requested a jury instruction that the defendant’s blood test raised a presumption of paternity that could be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence. The defendant sought an instruction that because the child was born to the plaintiff while she was lawfully married to Mr. Marshall, the plaintiff had the burden of producing evidence, and persuading the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the child was not Mr. Marshall’s. The trial court disregarded both presumptions and instructed the jury that the plaintiff had the burden of proving her case by a preponderance of the evidence. The jury unanimously found for the defendant.
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