Reinstatement of Appeals Not Permissible in DNA Cases – Published Opinion from Kentucky Court of Appeals

T.S. v. Kentucky, et al.

Grandmother, and custodian of the children at issue herein, was named as the person responsible for abuse and neglect the court found to have occurred. Grandmother appealed. The Court of Appeals ordered Grandmother to show cause why the appeal should not be dismissed for failure to name the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (“the Cabinet”)—an indispensable party—as the Cabinet was not named in either the body or the captions of the notice of appeal. The Court of Appeals dismissed the case. Grandmother then tendered a joint “motion to reinstate appeal” pursuant to Kentucky v. Wine, 694 S.W.2d 689, 694 (Ky. 1985) and Hollon v. Kentucky, 334 S.W.3d 431, 438 (Ky. 2010), which held that a belated or reinstated appeal could be had under certain conditions in criminal cases.

Grandmother argued that as DNA cases are quasi-criminal in nature, reinstatement of appeals should be an available remedy. The Court of Appeals rejected this argument, because Grandmother provided no authority or argument for extending reinstated appeal procedures to civil cases.

Grandmother argued that the Cabinet’s actual notice of the appeal is sufficient to render the Cabinet a party. The Court of Appeals rejected this argument, citing City of Devondale v. Stalling, 795 S.W.2d 954, 957 (Ky. 1990), because the Cabinet was not named in the notice of appeal.

Digest by Nathan R. Hardymon