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155152 - In re Hill, Minors

In re Hill Minors
Department of Health and Human Services,
Kirt L. Harmon
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Alger – Nebel, C.)
Dominic F. Andriacchi, Jr.
Vivek S. Sankaran


A family court terminated respondent mother’s parental rights to her two minor children after she failed to adequately comply with a service plan. On appeal, she argued that the family court obtained jurisdiction over the children by a flawed adjudication process during which she was not advised of her rights or the consequences of her plea, as required by MCR 3.971(B)(3) and (4). The Court of Appeals acknowledged the error, but held that respondent could not mount a collateral challenge to jurisdiction after her parental rights were terminated, citing In re Hatcher, 443 Mich 426 (1993). The Supreme Court has directed oral argument on respondent’s application for leave to appeal to address: (1) whether Hatcher correctly held that the collateral attack rule applied to bar respondent from challenging the family court’s initial exercise of jurisdiction on appeal from an order terminating parental rights in that same proceeding; (2) if not, (a) by what standard should courts review a respondent’s challenge to the initial adjudication, in light of a respondent’s failure to appeal the first dispositional order appealable of right, see MCR 3.993(A)(1), and (b) what must a respondent do to preserve for appeal any alleged errors at the adjudication phase, see e.g., In re Hudson, 483 Mich 928 (2009); and (3) if Hatcher was correctly decided, whether due process concerns may override the collateral bar rule. See In re Sanders, 495 Mich 394 (2014); In re Wangler, 498 Mich 911 (2015).