Dept. of Human Services v. K. M. J.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 03-09-2016
  • Case #: A156590
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; & Shorr, J. Armstrong, P.J., dissenting.
  • Full Text Opinion

A trial court may not terminate parental rights under ORS 419B.819(7) and ORS 419B.820 for a parent’s failure to appear at hearing, unless the court complies with the notice requirements of ORS 419B.820.

Mother appealed the trial court’s judgment terminating her parental rights over her two children. The trial court terminated the parental rights of Mother, who suffers from mental illness, after she failed to appear for a second termination trial, though Mother did provide a written response to the initial notice of termination. The record reflected that the trial court did not comply with the notice requirements of ORS 419B.819 and ORS 419B.820. The State conceded that Mother was not provided adequate notice, but that Mother had not preserved this argument at trial, and therefore this was not a reason to reverse the trial court’s judgment. The Court held that the trial court plainly erred in terminating Mother’s parental rights because she was not given adequate notice of the hearing, and under ORS 419B.819(7) and ORS 419B.820, a trial court may only terminate parental rights for a parent’s failure to appear at hearing if the court complies with the notice requirements of ORS 419B.820. Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded.

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