Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Devereux v. Atkins

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

June 21, 2017

DERRICK DEVEREUX Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
SHEENA ATKINS Defendant-Appellant

         Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana Lower Court Case No. 2015-1781 Honorable H. Stephens Winters, Judge

          NEWMAN, OLIVEAUX & MAGEE, LLP By: Trey N. Magee Counsel for Appellant.

          NANCI S. SUMMERSGILL Counsel for Appellee.

          Before DREW, PITMAN, and GARRETT, JJ.

          PITMAN, J.

         Sheena Atkins appeals the ruling of the trial court which denied her motion to dismiss the father's, Derrick Devereux's, objection to the hearing officer's recommendation regarding custody of their child. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         FACTS

         Derrick Devereux and Sheena Atkins were never married, but had a daughter together in April 2010. The couple lived with their child at Devereux's mother's house in Swartz, Louisiana, in Ouachita Parish. In January 2015, Atkins began staying in West Monroe, Louisiana, with her grandmother, who needed medical assistance. In March 2015, Atkins told Devereux that she had a boyfriend who lived near her grandmother.

         Because there had never been a judicially determined or court-ordered custody arrangement prior to June 2015, Devereux filed a petition seeking to establish custody and domiciliary status. He alleged that it would be in the child's best interest that he be named domiciliary parent. Between the period the suit was filed and when it was heard, Atkins married her boyfriend, "Red" Vogt.

         On August 18, 2015, Atkins filed an answer and reconventional demand stating she was in a better position to care for the child and to provide her with a structured and stable environment. At the hearing on September 14, 2015, the hearing officer recommended that the parties share joint custody of the minor child, with Atkins being designated as the domiciliary parent and Devereux having visitation every other weekend and splitting holidays and summer vacation.

         On September 17, 2015, Devereux filed an "Objection to Hearing Officer Conference Report, " objecting to the recommendation of the hearing officer. The basis of the objection was that the recommendation was allegedly made "taking into consideration the twelve factors set forth in Louisiana Civil Code Article 134, " but those considerations were not discussed or taken into consideration during the conference. Devereux objected to the findings by the hearing officer and claimed that there was no consideration of the twelve factors, and, further, that, had the hearing officer considered those factors, he (Devereux) would have been considered the more appropriate parent to be granted domiciliary custody of the child. He claimed that this would be proven at the trial and asked that the matter "proceed to hearing as currently scheduled, on all issues" to which he had objected.

         On September 24, 2015, the written conference report was filed into the record, and a temporary order adopting and implementing the hearing officer's recommendations was signed by the trial judge on September 21, 2015. That temporary order contains a paragraph which notes that there is no trial or hearing date currently scheduled and that it is the responsibility of the objecting party or parties to file an appropriate pleading requesting a trial or hearing date no later than 90 days after the filing of the objections or the continuance of the case without date, "or the objections will be deemed abandoned and will be dismissed without prejudice and the report and recommendations of the hearing officer will be adopted as the judgment of the court."

         On December 23, 2015, Devereux filed a motion to set a trial date on the objection he had filed on September 17, 2015, but which was not filed in the record until September 24, 2015. The trial court set the matter for trial on the merits for April 12, 2016 which was a date available to both parties' attorneys. Atkins's attorney did not object to the setting of the court date at that time.

         On March 30, 2016, Atkins's attorney filed an "Ex Parte Motion to Dismiss Objection For Failure to Comply with Local Rule Appendix 35.5" and stated that the hearing date had to be scheduled not later than 90 days after filing of the objection or it would be deemed abandoned and dismissed without prejudice and the hearing officer's recommendation would be adopted as the judgment of the court. Atkins claimed that she was entitled to dismissal of Devereux's objection to the hearing officer's recommendation because his request for trial was filed later than December 17, 2015, which ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.