The Second Department, reversing Family Court, determined mother was not in default because her attorney appeared and the court’s refusing to admit documentary evidence offered by mother’s attorney deprived mother of her right to due process of law:
The mother failed to appear … when continued fact-finding on the permanent neglect petition was scheduled, and an adjournment was granted. When the mother failed to appear on the next hearing date, … the mother’s counsel stated that she would be participating in the proceeding on the mother’s behalf and sought to admit into evidence certain documents. … [T]he mother was, therefore, not in default with respect to the fact-finding hearing … .
The Family Court’s refusal to permit the mother’s counsel to admit into evidence the documentary evidence on behalf of the mother based upon the mother’s failure to appear … , violated the mother’s right to due process. ” A parent has a right to be heard on matters concerning her [or his] child and the parent’s rights are not to be disregarded absent a convincing showing of waiver'” … . Matter of Amira W.H. (Tamara T.H.), 2020 NY Slip Op 02264, Second Dept 4-9-20