FROM SHELBY CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE S. MARIE HELLARD, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 18-CI-00486
FOR APPELLANT: Wesley E. Bright Campbellsville, Kentucky
FOR APPELLEE: No brief filed.
BEFORE: GOODWINE, LAMBERT, AND K. THOMPSON, JUDGES.
Blackaby ("Blackaby") appeals from a Shelby Circuit
Court order denying his petition for grandparent visitation.
Blackaby argues the family court erred in ruling he did not
have standing to pursue visitation after Nancy Barnes
("Barnes") adopted K.N.B. After careful review, we
was born in 2012 to Timothy Blackaby ("T.B.") and
Barnes' unnamed daughter. On February 5, 2016, Barnes
petitioned the family court to adopt K.N.B. During the
adoption proceedings, Barnes' daughter consented to the
adoption, relinquishing her parental rights. However, T.B.
contested the adoption and participated in the proceedings
through a court-appointed guardian ad litem due to
September 22, 2016, T.B. died, but K.N.B.'s adoption
proceedings were still ongoing. The family court finalized
Barnes' adoption of K.N.B., entering its Amended Judgment
of Adoption on October 23, 2017. Nearly one year later,
Blackaby, K.N.B.'s paternal grandfather, petitioned the
family court for grandparent visitation under
the adoption proceedings, the family court did not hold a
hearing on Blackaby's petition for grandparent
visitation. Instead, it ordered the parties to provide
memoranda regarding the legal issues by November 19, 2018.
Both parties complied with this order. Two months later, the
family court entered its findings of fact, conclusions of
law, and order denying Blackaby's petition for
visitation. Blackaby did not file a motion to alter, amend,
or vacate the ruling with the family court. Rather, this
we begin our analysis, we must again address the rules of
appellate procedure. Under Kentucky law, CR 73 through CR 76
are the principal rules governing appellate practice in the
Kentucky Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. CR 76.12 lays
out the briefing criteria to which attorneys must adhere to
successfully prepare an appellate brief for our review. A
plain reading of the rule indicates strict compliance with
its mandates are essential for a litigant's vitality. It
warns litigants that "[a] brief may be stricken for
failure to comply with any substantial requirement of th[e]
[r]ule[.]" CR 76.12(8)(a).
our case law dictates that "[c]ompliance with CR 76.12
is mandatory." Smothers v. Baptist Hosp. E.,
468 S.W.3d 878, 881-82 (Ky. App. 2015) (citing Hallis v.
Hallis, 328 S.W.3d 694, 696 (Ky. App. 2010)). It
explains that we bear no responsibility "to consider
portions of the Appellants' brief not in conformity with
CR 76.12, and may summarily affirm the trial court on the
issues contained therein." Leamon v. Phillips,
423 S.W.3d 759, 762 (Ky. App. 2014) (citing Skaggs v.
Assad, By and Through Assad, 712 S.W.2d 947 (Ky. 1986);
Pierson v. Coffey, 706 S.W.2d 409 (Ky. App. 1985)).
1986, our Supreme Court acknowledged the doctrine of
substantial compliance, which recognized, reconciled, and
furthered "three significant objectives of appellate
practice: achieving an orderly appellate process, deciding
cases on the merits, and seeing to it that litigants do not
needlessly suffer the loss of their constitutional right to
appeal." Ready v. Jamison, 705 S.W.2d 479, 482
(Ky. 1986). This doctrine provided our Court with
discretion to address and point out latent defects
in briefs and allow appeals to proceed based on the merits of
the argument, if warranted, or review for palpable error.
we address the procedural issue before us in this case. Under
CR 76.12(4)(c)(v), an appellant's brief
"shall contain at the beginning of the argument
a statement with reference to the record showing whether the
issue was properly preserved for review and, if so, in what
manner." (Emphasis added). Here, Blackaby omits this
integral section in his brief. He neither cites to the ...