SALLY L. PALMER,  Plaintiff Below, Appellant,
RANDY R. BROWN, JR., Defendant Below, Appellee.
Submitted: May 22, 2017
Below-Family Court of the State of Delaware File No.
CN02-08929 Petition Nos. 15-05658 and 16-23308
STRINE, Chief Justice; VAUGHN, and SEITZ, Justices.
Collins J. Seitz, Jr. Justice.
This 31st day of May 2017, it appears to the Court
August 17, 2016, the appellant, Sally L. Palmer ("the
Mother") filed a notice of appeal from a Family Court
order she identified as dated August 4, 2016. In her opening
brief, the Mother challenged an October 14, 2015 Family Court
order granting the petition to modify custody filed by the
appellee, Randy R. Brown, Jr. ("the Father"). A
review of the Family Court docket did not reveal any orders
dated August 4, 2016, but did show an August 5, 2016 Family
Court order denying the Mother's petition for an
emergency ex parte order to modify custody and to
find the Father in contempt.
May 1, 2017, the Senior Court Clerk issued a notice directing
the Mother to show cause why this appeal should not be
dismissed for her failure to file a timely notice of appeal
of the October 14, 2015 order and for her failure to comply
with Supreme Court Rule 42 in her appeal of the interlocutory
order dated August 5, 2016. In her response to the notice to
show cause, the Mother claims Family Court employees gave her
misleading information about how to appeal and argues the
merits of her appeal.
Time is a jurisdictional requirement. A notice of appeal must be
received by the Office of the Clerk of this Court within the
applicable time period in order to be
effective. An appeal of a judgment in a civil case
must be filed within thirty days after entry of the
judgment. Unless an appellant can demonstrate that
the failure to file a timely notice of appeal is attributable
to court-related personnel, an untimely appeal cannot be
Mother did not file her notice of appeal of the October 14,
2015 Family Court order until August 2016. She claims the
Family Court gave her misleading information about how to
appeal, but does not provide any details about when this
allegedly misleading information was provided, who provided
it, or what information was provided. In addition, court
personnel are prohibited from providing legal advice to
litigants. The Mother has not demonstrated that her
failure to file a timely notice of appeal is attributable to
court-related personnel.Consequently, this case does not fall
within the exception to the general rule that mandates the
timely filing of a notice of appeal.
the extent the Mother seeks to appeal the August 5, 2016
order denying her petition for an emergency ex parte
order to modify custody and to find the Father in contempt,
that appeal must be dismissed as interlocutory. Absent compliance
with Supreme Court Rule 42 ("Rule 42"), this Court
is limited to the review of a trial court's final
judgment. An order is deemed final and appealable if
the trial court has declared its intention that the order be
the court's final act in disposing of all justiciable
matters within its jurisdiction.
August 5, 2016 order provides that the action would proceed
in the usual course of business, which shows the Family Court
did not intend the order to be the final act in the case. The
August 5, 2016 order was therefore an interlocutory, not a
final, order. Because the Mother did not comply with Rule 42,
the appeal of the August 5, 2016 order must be dismissed.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, under Supreme Court Rule 29(b),
that this appeal is DISMISSED.