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In re O.R.W.

Court of Appeals of Oregon

July 8, 2015

In the Matter of O. R. W., a Child. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, Petitioner-Respondent,
v.
B. M. C., J. B., and J. B., Appellants

Argued and Submitted April 13, 2015

Douglas County Circuit Court. Petition Numbers 11JU069, 1100109; Julie A. Zuver, Judge pro tempore.

Holly Telerant, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant B. M. C. With her on the brief was Peter Gartlan, Chief Defender, Office of Public Defense Services.

George W. Kelly argued the cause and filed the brief for appellants J. B. and J. B.

Inge D. Wells, Assistant Attorney-in-Charge, argued the cause for respondent. With her on the brief was Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General.

Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Nakamoto, Judge, and Egan, Judge.

OPINION

Page 191

[272 Or.App. 257] EGAN, J.

In this juvenile dependency case, the issue is whether the juvenile court erred in granting the Department of Human Services's (DHS) motion to set aside the court's May 2014 judgment granting guardianship of O, the child at issue in this case, to O's maternal grandparents.[1] Both mother and grandparents appeal from the order setting aside the May judgment, which was entered on October 15, 2014. Mother also appeals from a permanency judgment that was entered on October 14, 2014--a date after the court decided to set aside the guardianship with grandparents, but before the order setting aside the judgment was entered. In the permanency judgment, the court continued the plan of permanent guardianship of O, but with a plan to establish the guardianship with O's paternal grandparents. We conclude that the trial court erred in granting DHS's motion to set aside the May judgment, because DHS lacked standing to bring that motion and, thus, the court lacked jurisdiction to enter the order. Accordingly, we vacate the order setting aside the May judgment and remand with instructions to deny DHS's motion to set aside the guardianship for lack of standing. For the same reasons, we also vacate the permanency judgment, because it was entered while DHS lacked standing, i.e., before the May judgment was set aside.

We review the court's decision of whether to grant a motion to set aside a judgment for abuse of discretion. Dept. of Human Services v. A. D. G., 260 Or.App. 525, 534, 317 P.3d 950 (2014).

The facts are undisputed. The juvenile court asserted jurisdiction over O when she was approximately eight months old, based on, as relevant here, mother's substance abuse and mental health. DHS placed O with grandparents. During that placement, DHS instructed grandparents to prevent mother from having contact with O without DHS supervision.

[272 Or.App. 258] In May 2014, DHS moved to establish a guardianship over O, nominating grandparents to act as O's guardians. After a hearing, the juvenile court granted DHS's motion. DHS drafted the judgment, which the court ultimately entered. As relevant to appellants' challenge, the judgment provided:

" 3. DHS' custody over the ward is terminated as of the effective date of this order and DHS is dismissed as a party to this proceeding.
" 4. Legal and physical custody of the ward is with the guardians only and they have the following duties and authority ...

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