Cabinet for Health and Family Services v. J.T.G. and A.G., Ky COA, Jurisdiction, Venue, Cabinet Child Care Costs

 

Cabinet for Health and Family Services v. J.T.G and A.G. ___S.W. 3d ____(Ky. App 2009)

PUBLISHED:   VACATING AND REMANDING

LAMBERT, PRESIDING; HARRIS, SENIOR JUDGE, CONCURS WITH SEPARATE OPINION; VANMETERDISSENTS
COUNTY
: SCOTT

 

Cabinet appealed Scott FC’s order finding it in contempt for failing to pay child care assistance costs, relying on Jefferson FC order as “law of the case.”

 

FACTS:

Uncle took permanent custody of Child due to mental illness of his sister, Child’s mother, by order of Jefferson FC.  Uncle claims that he advised Jefferson FC and Cabinet that he could only take permanent custody of Child if Cabinet paid childcare assistance and provided Kindship care until Child was out of grade school, and that Cabinet agreed, though written orders do not reflect such an agreement.    Case began in JeffersonCounty, where mother resided, but was later transferred to Scott FC at Uncle’s request as this was his county of residence.  Cabinet paid childcare for three years, and then advised Uncle that payments would cease.  Uncle claimed that Cabinet advised him to return to Jefferson FC for childcare order, and Uncle did so.  Jefferson FC issued order requiring Cabinet to provide childcare assistance, despite case having been transferred to Scott FC.  Uncle filed motion with Scott FC to have Jefferson FC order enforced.  Scott FC found that Jefferson FC order was the “law of the case,” and ordered Cabinet to pay.  Cabinet filed 59.05 motion, arguing that Jefferson FC order was unconstitutional as its terms violated KRS 610.010(12) regarding FC’s jurisdiction over Department of Juvenile Justice.  Scott FC disagreed, again holding that Jefferson FC order was “law of the case” and holding Cabinet in contempt.

 

ANALYSIS/HOLDINGS:

Jefferson FC lost jurisdiction over case once it was transferred it to Scott FC so that the Jefferson FC order at issue was void ab initio.  Scott FC mistakenly relied upon the Jefferson FC as the “law of the case,” because this doctrine applies only to appellate decisions in cases that are remanded to TC.  CA found that Scott FC did not make findings regarding KRS 610.010(12) and remanded to Scott FC for this purpose. 

 

VANMETER DISSENTING:

Both Scott and Jefferson FCs were capable of having, and did have, subject matter jurisdiction over the case.  While Scott FC clearly had venue of the case when Jefferson FC issued the order in question, Cabinet waived its objection as to venue.  Moreover, KRS 610.010(12) applies only to children who are committed to or in the custody of the Cabinet,” so this statute does not apply to this case. 

 

 

Digested by Michelle Eisenmenger Mapes, Diana L. Skaggs + Associates.