In re E.R. (Majority)Annotate this Case
Several months after removing Mother's four children from her home and becoming their temporary managing conservator, the Department of Family Protective Services petitioned the trial court to terminate Mother's parental rights. After an unsuccessful attempt at personal service, the Department decided to serve Mother by publication, a decision the trial court authorized. After a final hearing at which Mother did not appear, the trial court terminated Mother's parental rights to her children. Mother moved for a new trial within two years of the judgment. The trial court denied the motion, and the court of appeals affirmed, holding that the motion was untimely filed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that under the circumstances of this case, the substituted service was poor, hopeless, and unjustifiable. Remanded to the trial court to determine whether Mother unreasonably failed to act after knowing that a final judgment had taken away her children, and if so, whether granting relief would impair another person's substantial interest in reliance on that judgment.