Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Jackson
In the Matter of: T.S. Alleged neglected and dependent child
DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY
Appellants Daniel and Elizabeth Starr appeal an order denying
their motion to intervene in an action brought by the Jackson
County Job and Family Services agency to determine whether
T.S. is neglected or dependent and for an award of temporary
custody. As it appeared we may not have jurisdiction to
consider this matter because the order from which they are
appealing may not be a final appealable order, we ordered the
Starrs to file a memorandum addressing this jurisdictional
issue. See Magistrate's Order, November 1, 2017.
In response, the Starrs filed a memorandum in support of
jurisdiction which contends that the order affected "a
substantial right" to intervene in the proceeding. The
Starrs concede that grandparents have no legal right of
access to their grandchildren, but argue that the Ohio
General Assembly has provided statutory procedures that
"impact the role of grandparents" in neglect and
dependency cases and therefore gives grandparents the right
to intervene as a party. They also contend that they stood in
loco parentis and have a right to be joined as parties to the
We find that the trial court's order did not meet the
requirements of R.C. 2505.02; it was not final and
appealable. A grandparent has no "substantial
right" to intervene in juvenile custody proceedings.
Therefore, the order is not a final, appealable order under
R.C. 2505.02(B)(2). The order does not grant or deny a
provisional remedy under R.C. 2505.02(B)(4) because the
Starrs' motion to intervene was not for any ancillary
purpose. Instead, it was filed so that they could directly
participate as parties in the underlying custody proceedings
and obtain custody of T.S. We lack jurisdiction to address
the merits and dismiss the appeal.
In August 2017, the agency filed a complaint in the Court of
Common Pleas of Jackson County, Juvenile Division, concerning
alleging neglect and dependency and seeking temporary
custody, as well as emergency immediate custody. The agency
alleged that T.S. lacked adequate parental care because of
illegal drug use by T.S.'s parents. The agency alleged
that it had discussed with the parents the possibility of
relatives to serve as alternative care providers but neither
parent identified any relatives.
The juvenile court granted the agency immediate emergency
custody and the child was placed in foster care. An
adjudication hearing to determine whether the child was
neglected and dependent was set for October 25, 2017. In
September 2017, the Starrs filed a motion for temporary and
legal custody pursuant to R.C. 2151.353(A)(3), which allows
any "person" to file a motion requesting legal
custody. The Starrs contended that they are T.S.'s
maternal grandmother and step-grandfather and have acted in
loco parentis for T.S. In addition, the Starrs filed a motion
to intervene as parties in the case, claiming that they are
entitled to intervene because they, and not foster parents,
are the proper persons to have temporary custody over
On September 29, 2017, the trial court denied the Starrs'
motion to intervene. The Starrs' appealed the order
denying their motion to intervene on October 23, 2017. The
juvenile court docket indicates that no further activity has
occurred in the juvenile court since the Starrs filed their
appeal. There is no indication that the adjudicatory hearing
set for October 25, 2017 occurred, the trial court has issued
no further entries or orders, and the Starrs' motion for
legal custody is still pending.
Ohio law provides that appellate courts have jurisdiction to
review only final orders or judgments. Section 3(B)(2),
Article IV, Ohio Constitution; R.C. 2505 .02. If an order is
not final and appealable, an appellate court has no
jurisdiction to review the matter and it must be dismissed.
"An order of a court is a final appealable order only if
the requirements of both R.C. 2505.02 and, if applicable,
Civ.R. 54(B), are met." State ex rel. Scruggs v.
Sadler, 97 Ohio St.3d 78, 2002-Ohio-5315, 776 N.E.2d
101; see also, Chef Italiano Corp. v. Kent State
Univ., 44 Ohio St.3d 86, 541 N.E.2d 64, syllabus (1989).
The threshold requirement, therefore, is that the order
satisfies the criteria of R.C. 2505.02. Gehm v.
Timberline Post & Frame, 112 Ohio St.3d 514,
2007-Ohio-607, 861 N.E.2d 519, ¶ 15.
For purposes of this appeal, the relevant portions of R.C.
2505.02 define a final appealable order as follows:
(B) An order is a final order that may be reviewed, affirmed,
modified, or reversed, with or without retrial, when it is
one of the following:
(2) An order that affects a substantial right in an action
made in a special proceeding or upon a summary application in
an action after judgment;
(4) An order that grants or denies a provisional remedy and
to which both of the following apply:
(a)The order in effect determines the action with respect to
the provisional remedy and prevents a judgment in the action
in favor of the appealing party with respect to the
(b)The appealing party would not be afforded a meaningful or
effective remedy by an appeal following final judgment as to
all proceedings, ...