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Limestone County Department of Human Resources v. Long

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

October 24, 2014

Limestone County Department of Human Resources
v.
Deborah Long, as guardian ad litem for D.R., a minor child

          Appeal from Limestone Juvenile Court. (JU-09-160.02).

         MOORE, Judge. Pittman, Thomas, and Donaldson, JJ., concur. Thompson, P.J., concurs specially.

          OPINION

Page 542

          On Application for Rehearing

         MOORE, Judge.

         This court's opinion issued on August 8, 2014, is withdrawn, and the following is substituted therefor.

         The Limestone County Department of Human Resources (" DHR" ) appeals from a judgment of the Limestone Juvenile Court (" the juvenile court" ) awarding custody of D.R. (" the child" ) to DHR. We affirm.

         Procedural History

         On October 17, 2013, the child's paternal grandparents, J.R. and L.R. (" the grandparents" ), filed a petition alleging that the child was dependent. The juvenile court appointed Deborah Long as the guardian ad litem for the child. After a hearing, the juvenile court entered an order on November 6, 2013, finding the child dependent, awarding temporary legal and physical custody of the child to the grandparents, setting a dispositional and permanency hearing for January 17, 2014, and ordering DHR to complete a home study of the grandparents' home. DHR submitted a report of the home study it had conducted on January 14, 2014, recommending that, if they desired custody, the grandparents be awarded custody of the child. The January 2014 hearing was continued until February 7, 2014.

         On January 17, 2014, the guardian ad litem filed a motion to transfer custody, alleging that the grandparents had told her on January 16, 2014, that they were no longer willing or able to maintain custody of the child, that the child had been " admitted to Mountain View[, a psychiatric hospital,] for an assessment and services," and that the child would be discharged in five days with no place to go. The guardian ad litem also alleged that DHR's employees had been contacted and had stated that a dependency petition must be filed. The guardian ad litem asserted that she had responded by informing DHR that there was an ongoing dependency case pending in the juvenile court, i.e., the present action. The guardian ad litem requested that a hearing be held and that

Page 543

custody of the child be placed with DHR or some other viable placement.

         On January 21, 2014, the juvenile court entered a judgment placing custody of the child with DHR and noting that the matter had been set for a hearing on February 7, 2014. On January 22, 2014, an attorney for DHR filed an appearance in the dependency action. On January 24, 2014, DHR filed a " motion to alter, amend, or vacate" the juvenile court's January 21, 2014, judgment, alleging that its due-process rights had been violated because it had not been given notice or an opportunity to heard on the motion to transfer custody that had been filed by the guardian ad litem. DHR requested a hearing on its motion. On January 28, 2014, the juvenile court entered an order denying DHR's motion to alter, amend, or vacate.

         On February 6, 2014, the guardian ad litem filed a motion seeking review of the case; she alleged that the child had been discharged from Mountain View but that both the grandparents and DHR had refused to pick up the child upon his release. The juvenile court held a hearing on February 7, 2014. On February 10, 2014, DHR filed a petition for a writ of mandamus or, in the alternative, a notice of appeal directed to the January 21, 2014, judgment and the January 28, 2014, order denying its motion to alter, amend, or vacate ...


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