PIKE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES.
Denied July 12, 2019.
from Pike Juvenile Court (JU-17-50.02).
Christian Lukjan of Asharp Law Firm, LLC, Troy, for
Marshall, atty. gen., and Felicia M. Brooks, chief legal
counsel, and Karen P. Phillips, asst. atty. gen., Department
of Human Resources, for appellee.
Pike County Department of Human Resources ("DHR")
filed a petition in the Pike Juvenile Court ("the
juvenile court") seeking to terminate the parental
rights of J.A.R. ("the mother") and C.S. ("the
father"), to their minor child, J.T.B.S. The juvenile
court conducted an ore tenus hearing and received evidence.
October 24, 2018, the juvenile court entered a single-spaced,
three-and-a-half page judgment containing detailed findings
of fact and ordering that the parental rights of the mother
and the father be terminated. In that judgment, the juvenile
court determined, among other things, that the mother had
abandoned the child; that use of illegal drugs prevented the
parents from properly caring for the child; that the father
tested positive for alcohol on the only drug screens to which
he submitted and that on 20 occasions he refused to submit to
screening; that aspects of the father's testimony called
his credibility into question; that the father had
contributed only minimally toward the support of the child
when the child was in DHR's custody; that DHR had made
reasonable efforts toward reunification; and that the parents
had failed to adjust their circumstances to meet the needs of
October 29, 2018, the juvenile court entered a
"corrected judgment" in which it amended the style
of the action to include the child's full name. The
substance of the October 29, 2018, corrected judgment is
virtually identical to that of the October 24, 2018,
judgment. The differences between the two judgments involve
to parts of four different factual findings contained in the
original, October 24, 2018, judgment.
November 11, 2018, the father filed a "motion to
reconsider." The juvenile court denied that motion on
November 14, 2018. The father filed a notice of appeal on
November 21, 2018.
the father's appeal was pending, DHR filed a motion to
dismiss, arguing that the father's appeal was untimely.
DHR argued that the father had not timely appealed the
October 24, 2018, judgment. DHR maintained that the October
29, 2018, judgment was a corrected judgment entered pursuant
to Rule 60(a), Ala. R. Civ. P., and that, as such, it did not
constitute a new judgment that would restart the period in
which a timely notice of appeal or postjudgment motion could
be filed. The father opposed the motion to dismiss filed in
this court. On March 26, 2019, this court entered an order
denying the motion to dismiss.
the timely filing of a notice of appeal is a jurisdictional
issue. Lauterbach v. Gordon, Dana, Still, Knight &
Gilmore, LLC, 56 So.3d 613, 615 (Ala. 2010). Therefore,
upon submission, this court reconsidered the jurisdictional
issue of the timeliness of the father's appeal. As is
explained, infra, we conclude that the appeal was not timely
notice of appeal or a postjudgment motion was required to be
filed by November 7, 2018, which was 14 days after the entry
of the October 24, 2018, judgment. Rule 1(B), Ala. R. Juv.
P.; Rule 4(a)(1), Ala. R. App. P.; A.T. v.
D.M.,265 So.3d 294 (Ala.Civ.App. 2018). The
father's November 11, 2018, "motion to
reconsider" is not a timely postjudgment motion taken
from the October 24, 2018, judgment, and, therefore, it did
not operate to extend ...