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State ex rel. S.K.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

July 29, 2015

STATE OF LOUISIANA IN THE INTEREST OF S.K

          ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF ST. CHARLES, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 13,614, DIVISION " E" . HONORABLE TIMOTHY S. MARCEL, JUDGE PRESIDING.

         JESSICA COALTER, ATTORNEY AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE.

         JUANITA MARINO, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Norco, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR MINOR/APPELLEE.

         ARTHUR O. SCHOTT, III, ATTORNEY AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PARENT/APPELLANT.

         CHRISTINA LEWIS, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Luling, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR PARENT/APPELLEE.

         Panel composed of Judges Robert M. Murphy, Stephen J. Windhorst, and Hans J. Liljeberg.

          OPINION

         ROBERT M. MURPH, J.

         [15-457 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] Appellant, A.J., appeals a judgment of termination of parental rights and certification of adoption, rendered on May 20, 2015. Appellee, State of Louisiana, Department of Children and Family Services (" DCFS" ), filed a motion to dismiss A.J.'s appeal, contending that the appeal is untimely pursuant to La. Ch.C. art. 332. For the reasons that follow, we dismiss the appeal as untimely and remand the matter to the trial court for further proceedings.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On May 15, 2015, the trial court held a trial on the merits, wherein it terminated all parental rights of A.J. and S.K, relative to the child S.K., and certified S.K. for adoption. The trial court signed a judgment to that effect on May 20, 2015, which the Clerk of Court mailed to all parties on that same day.

         [15-457 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] On June 12, 2015, A.J. filed a motion for a suspensive appeal of the May 20, 2015 judgment terminating his parental rights. Later that same day, A.J. filed an amended motion for a suspensive appeal of the May 20, 2015 judgment. On June 26, 2015, the trial court signed an order granting A.J.'s motion for a suspensive appeal of the May 20, 2015 judgment. DCFS's motion to dismiss the appeal now follows.

         DISCUSSION

         In State ex rel. C.P., 00-2703 (La. 1/17/01), 777 So.2d 470, the Louisiana Supreme Court considered the timeliness of an appeal from a judgment terminating the parental rights of the appellant. The Court provided as follows:

Courts shall avoid delays in resolving the status of the parent and in achieving permanency for the child. La. Ch. Code art. 1032. All phases of termination of parental rights proceedings are thus to be given priority. State in the interest of S.M., 98-0922 (La. 10/20/98), 719 So.2d 445, 453 (La. 1998). Consistent with the statutory scheme of expediency, the Louisiana Children's Code provides that appeals shall be taken within fifteen days from ...

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