Session January 9, 2018
from the Juvenile Court for Rutherford County No. 10726C
Donna Scott Davenport, Judge
father appeals the juvenile court's adjudication of
parentage, arguing that the court erred in considering a
paternity test report previously entered as an exhibit in
proceedings before a magistrate. Although the court erred in
taking judicial notice of the report, we conclude the error
was harmless. We also conclude that the preponderance of the
evidence supports the court's paternity determination.
Thus, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Juvenile
A. Long, Franklin, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant,
R. Clayton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Alicia B.
Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which D. Michael Swiney, C.J., and Richard H. Dinkins, J.,
NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE
B. ("Mother") and Michael J. had a romantic
relationship in 2012. After Mother became pregnant, she
informed Michael J. that he was the father. He demanded
proof. And immediately after the child's birth, he took
both Mother and child to a genetic testing center for a
paternity test. But the test results were compromised.
Michael J. purchased a DNA testing kit from Walgreens,
personally collected new DNA samples, and mailed them to the
indicated lab. After he received the Walgreens test report,
he told Mother that the test showed a 99.9% probability that
he was the child's biological father. Even so, he refused
to voluntarily acknowledge paternity because he viewed the
Walgreens test as "unofficial."
January 3, 2014, the State of Tennessee, on behalf of Mother,
filed a petition to establish parentage in the Juvenile Court
for Rutherford County, Tennessee. At Michael J.'s
request, the juvenile court magistrate ordered the parties
and the child to submit to another paternity test. The
court-ordered paternity test, conducted by Laboratory
Corporation of America ("LabCorp"), also revealed a
99.9% statistical probability of paternity.
hearing on August 14, 2014, the magistrate issued a
preliminary order declaring Michael J. to be the child's
biological father and ordering him to pay $397 in monthly
child support. On February 6, 2015, the magistrate issued a
final order, which increased the amount of child support
awarded and granted Mother a judgment for birth-related
J. requested a rehearing before the juvenile
court. The juvenile court hearing spanned three
separate days. The first day focused on the issue