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In re Skylar F.

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

July 2, 2019

IN RE SKYLAR F. [*]

          Argued May 16, 2019 [**]

         Procedural History

         Petition to adjudicate the respondents' minor child neglected, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Haven, Juvenile Matters, where the court, Conway, J., issued an ex parte order of temporary custody and removed the minor child from the respondents' care; thereafter, the court, Burke, J., sustained the order of temporary custody; subsequently, the respondent father was defaulted for failure to appear; thereafter, the court, Conway, J., rendered judgment adjudicating the minor child neglected and committing the minor child to the custody of the petitioner; subsequently, the court, Marcus, J., denied the respondent father's motion to open the judgment, and the respondent father appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          Albert J. Oneto IV, assigned counsel, for the appellant (respondent father).

          Renee Bevacqua Bollier, assistant attorney general, with whom, on the brief, were William Tong, attorney general, and Benjamin Zivyon, assistant attorney general, for the appellee (petitioner).

          DiPentima, C. J., and Elgo and Sullivan, Js.

          OPINION

          ELGO, J.

         The respondent father appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to open the judgment of neglect that was rendered after the respondent was defaulted for his failure to attend a case status conference.[1] On appeal, the respondent claims that the court improperly denied his motion to open because the record does not support a finding that he received ‘‘actual adequate notice of the [case status] conference in violation of his rights to the due process of law.'' We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The following facts and procedural history are relevant to this appeal. Skylar was born in September, 2018. On September 28, 2018, the Department of Children and Families (department) assumed temporary custody of Skylar pursuant to a ninety-six hour administrative hold. On October 1, 2018, the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families, filed a neglect petition on behalf of Skylar. On that same date, the department obtained an ex parte order of temporary custody. A trial on the order of temporary custody was heard by the court on October 12 and 19, 2018. At the close of the first day of trial, the respondent received permission to be excused from attending the second day of trial. At the close of the second day of trial, the court ruled from the bench and sustained the order of temporary custody.

         After the court ruled from the bench, the parties scheduled a case status conference. The following colloquy occurred:

‘‘The Clerk: November 27th at nine?
‘‘[The Mother's Counsel]: I guess so.
‘‘[The Department's Counsel]: Can [the respondent] be notified of that date, please, your honor?
‘‘The Court: So ordered.
‘‘[The Respondent's Counsel]: Actually, is it possible to get a three o'clock ...

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