J.E., A.B., AND M.E. APPELLANTS
CABINET FOR HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY; AND A.N.E., A MINOR CHILD APPELLEES AND J.E., A.B., AND M.E. APPELLANTS
CABINET FOR HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY; AND A.E., A MINOR CHILD APPELLEES J.E., A.B., AND M.E. APPELLANTS
CABINET FOR HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY; AND Z.E., A MINOR CHILD APPELLEES
FROM WARREN CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE DAVID A. LANPHEAR, JUDGE
ACTION NOS. 16-J-00450-001, 14-J-00322-001, 14-J-00323-001
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT, J.E.: J.E., pro se Bowling Green,
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT, A.B.: A.B., pro se Bowling Green,
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT, M.E.: M.E., pro se Bowling Green,
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: Gregory Vincent Brownsville, Kentucky
GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOR MINOR CHILDREN: Ryan Clifford Reed
Bowling Green, Kentucky
BEFORE: JOHNSON, KRAMER, AND MAZE, JUDGES.
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING
show cause order entered December 22, 2017, the Court ordered
appellants to show good cause why the above-styled appeals
should not be dismissed as premature based on the fact
disposition had not occurred. Appellants thereafter filed a
timely response. For the reasons that follow, appellants'
arguments lack merit. Consequently, these appeals are hereby
dismissed because they are from interlocutory orders.
relevant procedural history of these cases is
straightforward. After a hearing, adjudication orders were
entered in all three underlying cases on September 29, 2017.
Disposition was set for November 16, 2017; however, prior to
this hearing, appellants filed the above-listed appeals.
Thereafter, the circuit court entered an order cancelling
further proceedings and finding that the appeal divested the
circuit court of jurisdiction. Appellants filed a motion to
alter, amend, or vacate this order, pursuant to Kentucky Rule
of Civil Procedure (CR) 59.05. The circuit court denied the
motion. No dispositional orders have been entered since the
filing of these appeals.
to Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 620.155, a parent aggrieved
by a proceeding in a dependency, neglect, or abuse case may
appeal as a matter of right. The statute, however, does not
delineate with particularity the type of proceeding that may
be appealed. Juvenile proceedings, including dependency,
neglect, and abuse (DNA) actions, are bifurcated proceedings,
i.e., they consist of two distinct hearings,
adjudication and disposition. KRS 610.080. In the present
cases, we must decide whether the rights of all parties have
been fully adjudicated for purposes of appellate review in
the absence of the completion of both the
adjudication and disposition hearings.
Rule 54.01 defines a "judgment" as "a written
order of a court adjudicating a claim or claims in an action
or proceeding. A final or appealable judgment is a final
order adjudicating all the rights of all the parties in an
action or proceeding . . . ." The orders must have
conclusively determined the rights of the parties in regard
to that particular phase of the proceeding before an appeal
can be taken from them. Consequently, we are primarily tasked
with determining for the purposes of an appeal whether an
adjudication order pursuant to KRS 610.080 finally determines
"all the rights of all the parties in an action or
proceeding[.]" CR 54.01.
researching the matter, we cannot locate any published cases
on point. The Court has, however, previously determined in
several unpublished opinions that disposition is the point of
finality. See, e.g., D.K. v. S.M.,
2011-CA-002103-ME, 2012 WL 2951444, (Ky. App. July 20, 2012);
M.F. v. M.F., 2005-CA-002208-ME, 2006 WL 3751358
(Ky. App. Dec. 22, 2006). This line of cases is persuasive and
consistent with orderly appellate procedures pursuant to CR
54.01. Based on the foregoing, the Court holds that a
disposition order, not an adjudication order, is the final
and appealable order with regard to a decision of whether a
child is dependent, neglected, or abused.
these appeals were not taken from a final order, the appeals
are clearly interlocutory. There being no final order from
which an appeal can be taken in ...