Dept. of Human Services v. L. E.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 07-27-2016
  • Case #: A160382
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; DeHoog, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A party asserting that an appeal is not moot must show a probable adverse consequence from the underlying judgment—a “mere possibility” of adverse consequences is not sufficient.

In this case, Mother appealed the judgment of the juvenile court assuming jurisdiction over her son. While the appeal was pending, the juvenile court dismissed jurisdiction and terminated the wardship. After the juvenile court dismissed the jurisdiction judgment, the Department of Human Services (DHS) filed a motion to dismiss the appeal as moot. Mother opposed the motion. In State v. Hauskins, 251 Or App 34, 36, 281 P3d 669 (2012), the Court held that a person asserting that an appeal is not moot must show a probable adverse consequence from the underlying judgment—a “mere possibility” of adverse consequences is not sufficient. Mother contended that there were two probable adverse consequences of the jurisdictional judgment: First, it prevents the mother from challenging the “founded” disposition in her DHS file resulting in negative future interactions with DHS. Second, the judgment’s determination created a social stigma about her. As to the first consequence, the Court held that the negative effect that mother asserted relating to an inability to challenge a “founded” disposition was more theoretical than probable. See Dept. of Human Services v. B. A., 263 Or App 679-82, 330 P3d 47 (2014). Additionally, as to the second consequence, the Court held that in light of the confidentiality of DHS and juvenile court records, the possibility of a social stigma associated with the underlying judgment itself is minimal and speculative. See Id. at 679. Motion to dismiss appeal granted; appeal dismissed as moot.

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