Jefferson County Department of Human Resources
from Jefferson Juvenile Court (JU-15-915.02)
January 2017, the Jefferson County Department of Human
Resources ("DHR") filed a petition in the Jefferson
Juvenile Court ("the juvenile court"), seeking to
terminate the parental rights of P.I.M. ("the
mother") to A.M.M. ("the child"). In May 2018,
the juvenile court entered a judgment terminating the
parental rights of the mother. After her timely postjudgment
motion directed to the termination-of-parental-rights
judgment was denied by operation of law, see Rule
1(B), Ala. R. Juv. P., and Rule 59.1, Ala. R. Civ. P., the
mother, through counsel, filed a notice of appeal; the
mother's appeal was assigned appeal number 2170945. The
mother's counsel also filed contemporaneously with the
notice of appeal a motion to withdraw as counsel for the
mother. The juvenile court granted that motion and appointed
new counsel to represent the mother on appeal. Because the
mother's notice of appeal had been filed more than 14
days after the denial of the mother's postjudgment
motion, we dismissed the mother's appeal on August 15,
2018. P.I.M. v. Jefferson Cty. Dep't Human Res.
(No. 2170945, August 15, 2018), ____ So.3d (Ala. Civ. App.
August 17, 2018, the mother filed a Rule 60(b), Ala. R. Civ.
P., motion in the juvenile court. On September 5, 2018, this
court's certificate of judgment issued in appeal number
2170945. On that same date, the mother filed a notice of
appeal, having concluded that her Rule 60(b) motion had been
denied by operation of law; that appeal was assigned appeal
number 2171141. On January 8, 2019, the mother filed in the
juvenile court and in this court a motion for leave to file a
revised Rule 60(b) motion; she also filed a revised Rule
60(b) motion in the juvenile court. Because the mother's
Rule 60(b) motion was not capable of being denied by
operation of law, and because her Rule 60(b) motion was
therefore still pending in the juvenile court, this court, on
January 29, 2019, dismissed the mother's appeal as having
been taken from a nonfinal judgment. P.M. v. Jefferson
Cty. Dep't Human Res. (No. 2171141, January 29,
2019), ____So. 3D ___ (Ala. Civ. App. 2019) (table). We did
not rule on the mother's motion for leave to file a
revised Rule 60(b) motion, because it had become moot. This
court's certificate of judgment in appeal number 2171141
issued on February 19, 2019.
April 22, 2019, the juvenile court issued an order denying
the mother's Rule 60(b) motion and her revised Rule 60(b)
motion. The mother has timely appealed the order denying her
Rule 60(b) motion. We dismiss the appeal.
explained that, as stated in Rule 60(b) itself, a party must
seek leave of an appellate court to file a Rule 60(b) motion
during the pendency of an appeal in that court. See
ArvinMeritor, Inc. v. Handley, 12 So.3d 669, 693 (Ala.
Civ. App. 2007). If a party neglects to do so, the trial
court does not acquire jurisdiction over the Rule 60(b)
motion. See Jenkins v. Covington, 939 So.2d 31, 34
(Ala. Civ. App. 2006) (explaining that "it was incumbent
upon the defendants to obtain leave from the appropriate
appellate court ... in order for the defendants to file a
valid motion under Rule 60(b) [while an appeal was pending]
and in order for the trial court to have jurisdiction to rule
upon that motion"). In addition, we have explained that
the pendency of an appeal extends to the date that this court
issues its certificate of judgment and not merely to the date
that this court issues a decision. Ex parte Keeler,
262 So.3d 1225, 1228 (Ala. Civ. App. 2017) (quoting
Landry v. Landry, 91 So.3d 88, 90 (Ala. Civ. App.
2012)). Therefore, as we explained in Keeler, a Rule
60(b) motion filed after the announcement of a decision of
this court but before the issuance of this court's
certificate of judgment and without leave from this court
does not invoke the jurisdiction of the trial court over that
motion. Keeler, 262 So.3d at 1228.
mother's initial Rule 60(b) motion was filed after this
court had dismissed her appeal in appeal number 2170945.
However, we had not yet issued our certificate of judgment
when the mother filed that motion. Thus, like the trial court
in Keeler, the juvenile court in the present case
never acquired jurisdiction over the mother's initial
Rule 60(b) motion.
mother's revised Rule 60(b) motion was filed during the
pendency of the mother's second appeal, i.e., appeal
number 2171141. Although the mother properly sought leave
from this court when she filed her revised Rule 60(b) motion,
this court did not grant the requested leave; instead, we
dismissed the mother's second appeal, mooting the
mother's motion. Therefore, the juvenile court also did
not acquire jurisdiction over the mother's revised Rule
60(b) motion. See Keeler, 262 So.3d ay 1228.
is a fundamental principle of appellate procedure, one that
we note ex mero motu, that an appeal will not
properly lie from a void judgment entered by a trial
court." Jenkins, 939 So.2d at 34. Because the
juvenile court did not acquire jurisdiction over the
mother's initial Rule 60(b) motion or her revised Rule
60(b) motion, the April 22, 2019, order denying those motions
is void and will not support the mother's appeal. See
Keeler, 262 So.2d at 1228. Accordingly, we dismiss the
mother's appeal. See Brown v. Foster, 785 So.2d
1141, 1142 (Ala. Civ. App. 2000) (dismissing an appeal from a
trial court's order purportedly denying a Rule 60(b)
motion that had been filed without leave of this court).
Thompson, P.J., and Moore, Donaldson, and ...