In re W.I.M., 374 N.C. 922 (2020)

  • Facts: On September 18, 2018, DSS filed a petition to terminate parental rights. A summons was issued on September 21st and served on respondent father on October 3rd. Father timely filed a motion to dismiss raising lack of subject matter jurisdiction due to a lack of proper verification  of the petition, which was signed by an authorized representative for the former DSS director. DSS filed a motion to amend the TPR petition to verify by an authorized agent of the current DSS director. The motion to amend was granted, and the trial court ordered DSS to file the amended petition and serve it on father. On November 27th, a new summons issued, and father was served with new summons and amended petition on December 4th. Father filed a motion to quash the November 27th successive summons since it was not an alias and pluries summons and did not contain and endorsement under Rule 4(d)(1)-(2) of the N.C. Civ. Pro. The motion was denied as the trial court found the amended summons and petition were not a successive summons warranting an alias and pluries summons but were new filings that were permitted by the court. The TPR was granted, and father appeals.
  • The purpose of an endorsement or issuance of an alias and pluries summons is to maintain an original action to toll the applicable period of the statute of limitations. “No such consideration is invoked in this case.” Sl.Op. at 7. The trial court permitted the filing of the amended petition and issuance of new summons and referred to it as “new filings”, and father did not contend that the TPR filing would be time-barred.
  • Father waived any objection to the court’s personal jurisdiction over him as he never raised the issue of personal jurisdiction in his answer or motion to quash. Instead he raised subject matter jurisdiction.
Termination of Parental Rights
Personal Jurisdiction
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