Pike County Department of Human Resources
from Pike Juvenile Court (JU-17-50.02)
THOMPSON, Presiding Judge.
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
an alteration 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 the
time for appealing that judgment. F.G. v. State Dep't
of Human Res., 988 So.2d 555, 557 (Ala. Civ. App. 2007).
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.
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
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.
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 ...