In the Matter of Brandon G. (Anonymous), Jr. Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, petitioner-respondent; Tiynia M. (Anonymous), respondent-appellant, et al., respondent. Docket No. B-164-15
Submitted - October 10, 2017
Charles-Duval, Brooklyn, NY, for respondent-appellant.
Offices of James M. Abramson, PLLC, New York, NY, for
Seymour W. James, Jr., New York, NY (Tamara A. Steckler and
Diane Pazar of counsel), attorney for the child.
C. DILLON, J.P. JEFFREY A. COHEN FRANCESCA E. CONNOLLY LINDA
DECISION & ORDER
by the mother from an order of the Family Court, Kings County
(Lillian Wan, J.), dated September 30, 2016. The order denied
the mother's motion to vacate so much of an order of
fact-finding and disposition of the same court dated August
19, 2016, as, upon her failure to appear at a fact-finding
and dispositional hearing, and after an inquest, terminated
her parental rights on the ground of abandonment, and
transferred custody and guardianship of the subject child to
the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services for the purpose of
that the order dated September 30, 2016, is affirmed, without
costs or disbursements.
proceeding, inter alia, pursuant to Social Services Law
§ 384-b to terminate the mother's parental rights on
the ground of abandonment, the mother failed to appear at the
fact-finding and dispositional hearing held on February 16,
2016, and was found to be in default.
Family Court conducted a fact-finding and dispositional
inquest, inter alia, determined that the subject child was an
abandoned child, terminated the mother's parental rights,
and transferred custody and guardianship of the subject child
to the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services for the purpose
of adoption. Thereafter, the mother moved to vacate her
default. The Family Court denied the mother's motion, and
the mother appeals.
determination of whether to relieve a party of a default is
within the sound discretion of the Family Court (see
Matter of Clarence D.H. [Fidelina A.], 150 A.D.3d 1113,
1114; Matter of Isabella R.W. [Jessica W.], 142
A.D.3d 503, 504; Matter of Kimberly S.K. [Kimberly
K.], 138 A.D.3d 853, 854; Matter of Stephen Daniel
A. [Sandra M.-A.], 122 A.D.3d 837, 839; Matter of
MiaP.R.D. [DavidD.], 113 A.D.3d 679, 680). A parent
seeking to vacate an order entered upon his or her default in
a termination of parental rights proceeding must establish
that there was a reasonable excuse for the default and a
potentially meritorious defense to the relief sought in the
petition (see CPLR 5015[a]; Matter of Clarence D.H.
[Fidelina A.], 150 A.D.3d at 1114; Matter of
Isabella R.W. [Jessica W.], 142 A.D.3d at 504;
Matter of Stephen Daniel A. [Sandra M.-A.], 122
A.D.3d at 839; Matter of Mia P.R.D. [David D.], 113
A.D.3d at 680; Matter of Daniel Marcus Y. [Marilyn
Y.], 77 A.D.3d 843, 843).
to the mother's contention, she failed to provide a
reasonable excuse for her default (see Matter of Paul
G.D.H. [Yvonne H.], 147 A.D.3d 699, 699; Matter of
Arianna-Samantha Lady Melissa S. [Carissa S.], 134
A.D.3d 582, 583; Matter of Deyquan M.B. [Lashon H.],
124 A.D.3d 644, 645; Matter of Joshua E.R. [Yolaine
R.], 123 A.D.3d 723, 725; Matter of Sean Michael N.
[Lydia T.-Shawn N.], 106 A.D.3d 561, 561; Matter of
Kenneth S. v Bethzaida P., 95 A.D.3d 1022, 1023;
Matter of Dominique Beyonce R. [MariaIsabelR.], 82
A.D.3d 984, 985). Because the mother does not have a
reasonable excuse for her default, we need not determine
whether she has a potentially meritorious defense (see
Matter of Serwatka v Serwatka, 147 A.D.3d 1066,
1066; Matter of Kimberly S.K. [Kimberly K.], 138
A.D.3d at 854; Matter of Stephen Daniel A. [Sandra
M.-A.], 122 A.D.3d at 839; Matter of Proctor-Shields
v Shields, 74 A.D.3d 1347, 1348).
the Family Court providently exercised its discretion in
denying the mother's motion to vacate the order of