Dept. of Human Services v. K. L.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 07-08-2015
  • Case #: A158194
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Nakamoto, J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

ORS 419B.823 and 419B.824 are modeled after ORCP 7 D, and require that parties to a dependency proceeding receive notice reasonably calculated under the factual circumstances to apprise them of the action and afford the opportunity to present objections.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) filed a dependency petition that alleged jurisdiction over a child because of parents' use of controlled substances, lack of stable housing, and failure to provide a safe environment and meet their child's behavioral needs. After the father began participating in services, the petition was dismissed. DHS filed a second dependency petition after the father stopped participating in services, but DHS was unable to contact the parents except via an email address. The parents had blocked the road to their home, remained absent from the home throughout the day and placed a sign outside of the home directing visitors to keep out. The parents refused to cooperate with DHS and DHS was unable to find the child, but the court refused to issue a warrant for the father's arrest until the father was served with a summons in this case. DHS mailed, emailed and posted copies of the order, summons and dependency petition, and when the parents failed to show up as directed the court found DHS had properly served the parents and entered a jurisdictional judgment. On appeal, the parents alleged they were not properly served, rendering the judgment invalid. The Court held that the parents were properly served because, under ORS 419B.823 and 419B.824, modeled after ORCP 7 D, service must be effected in a manner reasonably calculated to apprise the person served of the proceeding, which is a fact-specific determination. In this case, nothing suggested the posted summons would be removed by anyone other than the parents, neighbors stated the parents came home at night, the parents kept pets in the home they presumably took care of, DHS mailed copies to the parents' address, and DHS emailed copies to an email address through which it had communicated with the father in the recent past. Affirmed.

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