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In re K.M.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Wayne

August 12, 2019

IN RE: K.M.

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF WAYNE, OHIO CASE No. 2016 JUV-C 000739

          REBECCA A. CLARK, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          NORMAN R. MILLER, JR., Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JULIE A. SCHAFER, Judge.

         {¶1} Appellant, L.R. ("Aunt"), appeals from a decision of the Wayne County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, that denied her motion for relief from judgment. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} Aunt is a paternal aunt of K.M., born June 1, 2016. K.M. was removed from the custody of his parents shortly after birth. Wayne County Children Services Board ("CSB") already had open cases with the child's older siblings and the parents were continuing to struggle with substance abuse and domestic violence in the home. None of the older siblings are parties to this appeal and the parents have not appealed from the trial court's judgment.

         {¶3} KM. was later adjudicated a dependent child and placed in the temporary custody of CSB. Early in this case, Aunt contacted CSB as a potential relative placement for the child. Aunt's Columbus home initially was not approved for placement, however, because of the criminal background search of Aunt and her husband. Because CSB found no suitable relative for placement for the child, K.M. remained in the same foster home.

         {¶4} Aunt twice moved to intervene as a party in this case. The trial court denied both of her motions and Aunt did not file a timely appeal from either trial court decision. Instead, Aunt continued to pursue placement or legal custody of K.M. Aunt's home was eventually approved for placement because of a change in the law and the time that had passed since the most recent conviction. Aunt and her husband began having unsupervised visits with K.M.

         {¶5} Ultimately, the matter proceeded to a hearing before a magistrate on the motion of the foster parents for legal custody of the child and Aunt's competing motion for "Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities." Following the hearing, the magistrate decided that the child would be placed in the legal custody of the foster parents and that Aunt would receive visitation rights with the child, including at least one full weekend per month and at least two non-consecutive weeks during the summer months.

         {¶6} Aunt filed a brief objection to the magistrate's decision and requested leave to supplement her objection after the transcript of proceedings was filed. After the transcript of proceedings was filed on December 7, 2018, however, Aunt did not timely file a brief to supplement her objections. See Loc.R. 12(C) of the County Court of Common Pleas of Wayne County, Juvenile Division. The foster parents filed a motion to dismiss Aunt's objections, which was granted by the trial court on December 27, 2018.

         {¶7} Aunt did not appeal the dismissal of her objections and the trial court's independent judgment that placed K.M. in the legal custody of the foster parents. Instead, she filed a post-judgment motion in the trial court, requesting, among other things, Civ.R. 60(B) relief from the trial court's December 27 judgment. On January 9, 2019, the trial court denied her motion, finding that she had failed to demonstrate grounds for relief under Civ.R. 60(B). Aunt appeals from the January 9 judgment and raises two assignments of error.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT ...


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