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.

Washington v. Caroline County Department of Social Services

Court of Appeals of Virginia

December 10, 2019

ANDRE WASHINGTON
v.
CAROLINE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

          FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF CAROLINE COUNTY Sarah L. Deneke, Judge

          Miriam Airington-Fisher (Airington, Stone & Rockecharlie, PLLC, on briefs), for appellant.

          Jennifer C. Williamson, Senior Assistant Attorney General (Mark R. Herring, Attorney General; Cynthia V. Bailey, Deputy Attorney General; Kim F. Piner, Senior Assistant Attorney General/Section Chief, on brief), for appellee.

          Present: Judges O'Brien, Malveaux and Senior Judge Clements Argued at Richmond, Virginia

          OPINION

          MARY BENNETT MALVEAUX, JUDGE

         Andre Washington ("appellant") appeals an order of the Caroline County Circuit Court ("circuit court") that sustained the Virginia Department of Social Services' ("VDSS")[1] plea in bar by special appearance and dismissed his petition for appeal for lack of jurisdiction. On appeal, he argues that the circuit court erred in ruling that his failure to comply with the service provisions of Rule 2A:4(a) divested the court of jurisdiction and in sustaining the plea in bar on that ground. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In April 2017, after receiving and investigating a complaint that appellant had physically abused his daughter, the Caroline County Department of Social Services entered a disposition of "Founded-Physical Abuse." Pursuant to Code § 63.2-1526(A), appellant appealed this disposition, which was sustained at a local conference appeal hearing. Appellant then appealed to VDSS, which sustained the disposition on March 27, 2018.

         On April 17, 2018, VDSS received correspondence from appellant in which he requested to appeal VDSS's decision. Appellant's letter did not indicate that he had also sent a copy to his counsel or had made his counsel aware of the correspondence.

         On April 19, 2018, counsel for appellant filed a notice of appeal with VDSS.

         On May 21, 2018, counsel for appellant filed a petition for appeal in the circuit court, a copy of which had been mailed to VDSS.[2] Along with the petition, counsel for appellant included a cover letter to the court that stated, "Enclosed please find a Petition for Appeal regarding the above-referenced case along with a check for the filing fee in the amount of $84.00." Appellant did not enclose paper copies of his petition in order for the circuit court clerk to prepare a summons and issue process, and he did not pay the fees for service or request service.

         On October 16, 2018, the petition for appeal was served on Dr. Daniel Carey, Virginia's Secretary of Health and Human Resources.[3] The proof of service indicates that the summons was issued on August 22, 2018. There is no indication in the record that VDSS itself was served with process.

         On October 24, 2018, VDSS, by special appearance, filed a plea in bar asserting that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal. VDSS argued that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction for two reasons: (1) appellant himself filed a notice of appeal on April 17, 2018, and because his petition for appeal was filed more than thirty days after that notice, his petition was untimely under Rule 2A:4(a); and (2) appellant failed to comply with Rule 2A:4(a)'s mandatory provisions for service on VDSS.

         The circuit court heard argument on VDSS's plea in bar and then issued a letter opinion in which it granted VDSS's plea in bar and dismissed appellant's appeal for lack of ...


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.