Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

C.S. v. Pike County Department of Human Resources

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

May 24, 2019

C.S.
v.
Pike County Department of Human Resources

          Appeal from Pike Juvenile Court (JU-17-50.02)

          THOMPSON, Presiding Judge.

         The 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.

         On 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 the child.

         On 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 an alteration to parts of four different factual findings contained in the original, October 24, 2018, judgment.

         On 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.

         While 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.

         However, 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 filed.

         A 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 the time for appealing that judgment. F.G. v. State Dep't of Human Res., 988 So.2d 555, 557 (Ala. Civ. App. 2007).

         However, the father argues that the October 29, 2018, judgment constituted a new judgment. If the father is correct, the November 11, 2018, motion would have been timely filed, as would the notice of appeal from the denial of that motion. DHR argues, however, that, in entering the October 29, 2018, judgment, the juvenile court merely made clerical corrections to the original, October 24, 2018, judgment.

         Rule 60(a), Ala. R. Civ. P., provides, in part, that "[c]lerical mistakes in judgments, orders, or other parts of the record and errors therein arising from oversight or omission may be corrected by the court at any time of its own initiative or on the motion of any party and after such notice, if any, as the court orders." "The object of a Rule 60(a) motion or a judgment nunc pro tunc is to make the judgment or the record speak the truth." McGiboney v. McGiboney, 679 So.2d 1066, 1068 (Ala. Civ. App. 1995).

"'"'"The object of a judgment nunc pro tunc is not the rendering of a new judgment and the ascertainment and determination of new rights, but is one placing in proper form on the record, the judgment that had been previously rendered, to make it speak the truth, so as to make it show what the judicial action really was, not to correct judicial errors, such as to render a judgment which the court ought to have rendered, in the place of the one it did erroneously render, nor to supply non-action by the court, however erroneous the judgment may have been."'"'"

S.S. v. Calhoun Cty. Dep't of Human Res., 212 So.3d 940, 947 (Ala. Civ. App. 2016) (quoting Ex parte Brown, 963 So.2d 604, 608 (Ala. 2007), quoting in turn Higgins v. Higgins, 952 So.2d 1144, 1147-48 (Ala. Civ. App. 2006), quoting in turn Ex parte Continental Oil Co., 370 So.2d 953, 955-56 (Ala. 1979)(Torbert, C.J., concurring specially), quoting in turn Wilmerding v. The Corbin Banking Co., 126 Ala. 268, 273, 28 So. 640, 641 (1900)). A correction to a judgment pursuant to Rule 60(a) relates back to the date of the original judgment and does not extend the time for taking an appeal. P.H. v. Butler Cty. Dep't of Human Res., 264 So.3d 883 (Ala. Civ. App. 2018).

         In this case, the juvenile court, in entering the October 29, 2018, judgment, changed the style of the case, as it was listed in that court, from "In the Matter of [J.S.]" to "In the Matter of [J.T.B.S.]." The father concedes in his appellate brief that that alteration ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.