FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
CALCASIEU, NO. 27496 HONORABLE LILYNN A. CUTRER, DISTRICT
B. Hawkins Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR APPELLANTS: G.B and
Ri.B. (Maternal Grandparents)
W. Saunders, Jr. COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE State of Louisiana,
Department of Children & Family Services
McGray COUNSEL FOR OTHER APPELLEE: L.F.B. (child)
D. Saunders, John E. Conery, and D. Kent Savoie, Judges.
E. CONERY JUDGE
rendering its decision on October 18, 2017,  this court has
been apprised, through counsel for the State of Louisiana
through the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
and the child's attorney in their rehearing requests,
that the minor child, L.F.B., has been adopted by her
putative paternal aunt and the aunt's husband and this
child in need of care case has now been concluded. Inasmuch
as there is no longer any child in need of care case pending
in the trial court in Docket No. 27496, we have no
alternative but to recall our remand order and dismiss this
addressed and denied the jurisdictional issue raised by
counsel for DCFS and counsel for the minor child in our
original opinion. As we discussed in our original opinion,
the grandparents had filed a petition for custody of L.F.B.,
which was denied by the juvenile court judge on the basis
that the juvenile court had exclusive jurisdiction over the
child's custody as long as the CINC case was ongoing
pursuant to La.Ch.Code art. 303. Without objection by the
parties, the trial judge then converted the grandparents'
petition for custody to a petition to intervene in the CINC
proceeding, which it ultimately denied, and which is the
subject of this appeal. Because that judgment was final as to
the grandparents' right to participate in the CINC
proceeding in any way, we rejected DCFS' jurisdictional
argument and decided the case on original hearing in favor of
the grandparents' right to intervene. On rehearing, we
again decide the case on the merits of DCFS and L.F.B.'s
rehearing request, but are constrained to find that we no
longer have jurisdiction in the CINC proceedings, which are
now moot based on the adoption of L.F.B.
the sister of L.F.B.'s putative father, R.Y., and
M.W.'s husband, J.W., had filed a motion to intervene in
the CINC proceeding on August 10, 2016. After their home had
been approved by DCFS, DCFS recommended and the court then
placed L.F.B. in the custody of M.W. and J.W. as prospective
adoptive parents on September 15, 2016. After the
grandparents' petition to intervene in this CINC
proceeding was denied by the trial court, the grandparents
then filed a motion for interim visitation in the CINC
proceeding. While L.F.B. was still legally in the State's
custody and physically living with M.W. and J.W., the
prospective adoptive parents, the trial court denied the
grandparents' visitation request on June 29, 2017.
not made aware of this ruling on original appeal, but as a
result of the rehearing, we did order a supplemental record
and finally became aware of what had happened since the
appeal was originally lodged.
the merits of the grandparents' appeal was pending before
this court in the CINC proceeding, without notice to this
court or the grandparents' attorney, the attorney for the
adoptive parents, the putative paternal aunt, M.W. and her
husband, J.W., filed a petition for final adoption of L.F.B.
in a separate docket of the juvenile court. That record was
also not part of this original appeal. However, pursuant to
La.Ch.Code art. 303, we acknowledge that the trial court did
have continuing jurisdiction over issues pertaining to the
adoption of L.F.B.
grandparents did not seek a stay of any of the rulings of the
trial court, as DCFS pointed out in its reply brief on
rehearing, nor did they file a request for a writ on the
denial of temporary visitation. There was nothing in the
record when we decided this case on original appeal to alert
our court that the adoption was being pursued by M.W. and her
husband, J.W., during the appeal. In the meantime, the trial
judge took up the issue of the final adoption of the child at
its first and only hearing on that issue on September 6,
2017, in a separate docket number and signed an adoption
decree allowing M.W. and J.W. to adopt L.F.B. that same day,
while the CINC case was pending on appeal and shortly before
this court decided the merits of the appeal in favor of the
grandparents' right to intervene in the CINC proceeding.
and the child's attorney now argue on rehearing that
since the trial judge maintained jurisdiction during the
pendency of the CINC proceeding pursuant to La.Ch.Code art.
and La.Ch.Code art. 303, the trial judge could lawfully
exercise jurisdiction in the adoption case. DCFS and the
child's attorney argue that the grandparents'
intervention is now moot.
the attorney for DCFS, the child's attorney, nor the
trial judge made this court aware that the adoption judgment
had been signed allowing M.W. and J.W. to adopt L.F.B. while
the merits of the grandparents' appeal in the CINC
proceeding were being considered. However, the
grandparents' attorney did not request or file a stay of
the CINC proceedings during the appeal. The brief by the
grandparents' attorney asserts that she orally requested
a stay of ...