from Shelby Juvenile Court (JU-07-724.14 and JU-07-725.14)
THOMPSON, Presiding Judge.
March 6, 2015, W.L. and L.L. filed petitions in the Shelby
Juvenile Court ("the juvenile court") seeking to
terminate the parental rights of C.C.J. ("the
father") and K.R. ("the mother") to their two
minor children. L.L., who has divorced W.L., withdrew or
failed to prosecute her claims in the termination actions.
juvenile court conducted an ore tenus hearing over the course
of two days. On March 3, 2016, the juvenile court entered
orders in which it terminated the parental rights of the
mother and the father and awarded permanent legal custody of
the children to W.L. We note that the March 3, 2016, orders
stated, in part, that the termination-of-parental-rights
actions were "consolidated" with an adoption action
W.L. had filed in the Shelby Probate Court ("the probate
court") and that had been transferred to the juvenile
court. In Hanner v. Metro Bank & Protective Life
Insurance Co., 952 So.2d 1056, 1060-61 (Ala. 2006), our
supreme court determined that, when cases are consolidated,
no final judgment arises until all the claims to the
consolidated actions have been adjudicated unless the trial
court certifies its judgment as final under Rule 54(b), Ala.
R. Civ. P. Accordingly, this court questioned, ex mero
motu, whether the March 3, 2016, orders were final.
See Nunn v. Baker, 518 So.2d 711, 712 (Ala. 1987)
("[J]urisdictional matters are of such magnitude that we
take notice of them at any time and do so even ex mero
motu."). We note that no filings from the adoption
action are contained in the record on appeal. The record
indicates that the adoption action was
"transferred" to the juvenile court, but, other
than the reference in the March 3, 2016, orders and
references by the parties to "consolidation, " the
record contains no indication that the actions were
consolidated. Accordingly, this court remanded the actions to
the juvenile court to notify this court of any order
consolidating the termination-of-parental-rights actions with
the adoption action that had been transferred from the
probate court. On April 18, 2017, the juvenile court entered
an order stating that it had not intended to consolidate the
actions and that no order consolidating the actions had been
entered. Therefore, the March 3, 2016, orders entered by the
juvenile court in the termination-of-parental-rights actions
were final judgments in the termination-of-parental-rights
mother filed a timely postjudgment motion on March 17, 2016.
See Rule 4(a)(3), Ala. R. App. P. ("The filing
of a post-judgment motion pursuant to [Rule 59] of the
Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure ... shall suspend the
running of the time for filing a notice of appeal.");
Rule 1(B), Ala. R. Juv. P. (In juvenile actions, "[a]ll
postjudgment motions ... must be filed within 14 days after
entry of order or judgment and shall not remain pending for
more than 14 days ...."); and F.G. v. State
Dep't of Human Res., 988 So.2d 555, 557 (Ala. Civ.
App. 2007) ("In a juvenile case, a postjudgment motion
must be filed no later than 14 days after the entry of the
judgment."). On March 29, 2016, the juvenile court
entered an order, applicable to both
termination-of-parental-rights actions, stating: "Motion
to Alter, Amend, or Vacate filed by the mother is hereby
specifically set for hearing on April 8, 2016, at 8:30
a.m." The juvenile court purported to enter a
postjudgment order applicable to both
termination-of-parental-rights actions on April 8, 2016.
However, the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction to enter that
order because the mother's March 17, 2016, postjudgment
motion had been denied by operation of law on March 31, 2016,
which was 14 days after that motion was filed. See
Rule 59.1, Ala. R. Civ. P.; Rule 1(B), Ala. R. Juv. P.
See also T.P. v. T.J.H., 10 So.3d 613, 614 (Ala.
Civ. App. 2008) (the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction to
rule on a postjudgment motion more than 14 days after that
motion was filed). The mother had 14 days, or until Thursday,
April 14, 2016, to timely appeal the March 31, 2016, denial
by operation of law of her postjudgment motion. Rule 1(B),
Ala. R. Juv. P.; J.S. v. State Dep't of Human
Res., 597 So.2d 1376, 1377 (Ala. Civ. App. 1992).
However, the mother filed her notice of appeal on April 15,
2016. The mother's notice of appeal was untimely and did
not invoke the jurisdiction of this court, and, therefore, we
must dismiss the appeals. J.S. v. State Dep't of
Human Res., supra; T.P. v. T.J.H., supra.
motion to strike the mother's amended brief on appeal is
denied as moot.
Pittman, J., concur.
Thomas, J., concurs in the result, without writing.
J., dissents, with writing, which Donaldson, J., joins.
March 3, 2016, the Shelby Juvenile Court ("the juvenile
court") entered its final judgments terminating the
parental rights of K.R. ("the mother") to her two
minor children. The mother filed a timely postjudgment motion
in the actions on March 17, 2016. On March 29, 2016, the
juvenile court entered an order, applicable to both actions,
stating: "Motion to Alter, Amend or Vacate filed by the
mother is hereby specifically set for hearing on April 8,
2016 at 8:30 a.m." After that hearing, on April 8, 2016,
the juvenile court entered an order, applicable to both
actions, purporting to grant the postjudgment motion in part
and to deny the postjudgment motion in part. The mother filed
a notice of appeal seven days later, on April 15, 2016.
to Rule 1(B), Ala. R. Juv. P., a postjudgment motion filed in
a juvenile-court proceeding can remain pending for only 14
days, at which point it will be denied by operation of law,
unless, within that 14-day period, the time allowed for the
postjudgment motion to remain pending has been extended:
"(1) By written order of the juvenile court on its
own motion, or upon motion of a party for good cause
shown, for not more ...