IN THE MATTER OF THE PARENTAL RIGHTS AS TO T.L., MINOR CHILD.
WASHOE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, Respondent. TONYA M., Appellant,
from a district court order terminating appellant's
parental rights as to a minor child. Second Judicial District
Court, Family Court Division, Washoe County; Egan K. Walker,
T. Bosler, Public Defender, and John Reese Petty, Chief
Deputy Public Defender, Washoe County, for Appellant.
Christopher J. Hicks, District Attorney, and Jeffrey S.
Martin, Chief Deputy District Attorney, Washoe County, for
HARDESTY, PARRAGUIRRE and STIGLICH, JJ.
appeal we consider a parent's standing to challenge the
court's placement decision following the termination of
her parental rights where the parent entered into a
stipulation agreeing to the termination of her parental
rights but reserving the right to participate in a contested
pre-termination hearing regarding the child's placement.
We conclude that, because the parent no longer has parental
rights as to the minor child and does not challenge the
termination of those rights, she lacks standing to challenge
the district court's placement decision. We must
therefore dismiss this appeal.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Washoe County Department of Social Services (WCDSS) sought to
terminate appellant Tonya M.'s parental rights as to her
minor child, who had already been removed from Tonya's
care and was living with a foster family. WCDSS later found
a family that wanted to adopt the minor child, but Tonya
wanted the child placed with a relative. Ultimately, WCDSS
and Tonya entered into a stipulation wherein Tonya would be
allowed to participate in the contested placement hearing,
and, following that hearing, she would relinquish her
parental rights. The stipulation further provided that if
Tonya did not relinquish her parental rights following the
contested placement hearing, the district court would enter
an order, based on previous testimony, concluding that
termination of Tonya's parental rights was in the minor
child's best interest. Tonya also stipulated to waive any
right to challenge the order terminating her parental rights.
participated in the contested placement hearing and testified
in support of the child being placed with her relative. In
its placement order, however, the district court declined to
place the child with Tonya's relative and instead placed
the child with the adoptive family.
Tonya did not relinquish her parental rights, and the
district court entered an order terminating her parental
rights. This appeal followed.
opening brief, Tonya challenges the district court's
placement decision. She asserts that the district court
failed to make the written findings of fact this court
required in Clark County District Attorney v. Eighth
Judicial District Court, 123 Nev. 337, 348, 167 P.3d
922, 929 (2007) (reviewing a placement decision for an abuse
of discretion and holding that, "[i]n rendering its
placement decision, the district court must make written
findings with respect to any credibility issues and with
regard to its ultimate conclusion regarding the child's
best interest"). She does not challenge the stipulation
or the district court order terminating her parental rights.
WCDSS argues that Tonya lacks standing to challenge the
placement decision because her parental rights have been
terminated and, therefore, this case must be dismissed.
Because appellate standing is required for this court to have
jurisdiction to hear Tonya's argument, we address it
first. See Valley Bank of Nev. v. Ginsburg, 110 Nev.
440, 446, 874 P.2d 729, 734 (1994) (addressing standing and
holding that "this court has jurisdiction to entertain
an appeal only where the appeal is brought by an aggrieved
party" (emphasis omitted)). Standing to challenge
the placement order
"[a] party who is aggrieved by an appealable judgment or
order" has standing to appeal to this court. NRAP 3A(a);
Estate of Hughes v. First Nat'l Bank of Nev., 96
Nev. 178, 180, 605 P.2d 1149, 1150 (1980). In order to be
aggrieved, '"either a personal right or right of
property [must be] adversely and substantially affected'
by a district court's ruling." Ginsburg,
110 Nev. at 446, 874 P.2d at 734 (quoting Estate of
Hughes, 96 Nev. at 180, 605 P.2d at 1150). The grievance
must be substantial in that the district court's decision
imposes an injustice, or illegal obligation or burden, on the
party, or denies the party an equitable or legal right.
Webb v. Clark Cty. ...