Dean D. and Michelle D., appellants.
Rachel S., appellee.
Motions to Dismiss: Pleadings: Appeal and
Error. An appellate court reviews a district
court's grant of a motion to dismiss de novo, accepting
all the allegations in the complaint as true and drawing all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.
Moot Question: Jurisdiction: Appeal and
Error. Because mootness is a justiciability doctrine
that operates to prevent courts from exercising jurisdiction,
an appellate court reviews mootness determinations under the
same standard of review as other jurisdictional questions.
Judgments: Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error.
When a jurisdictional question does not involve a factual
dispute, its determination is a matter of law, which requires
an appellate court to reach a conclusion independent of the
decisions made by the lower courts.
Parties: Standing: Jurisdiction. A party
must have standing before a court can exercise jurisdiction,
and either a party or the court can raise a question of
standing at any time during the proceeding.
Standing. Under the doctrine of standing, a
court may decline to determine merits of a legal claim
because the party advancing it is not properly situated to be
entitled to its judicial determination. The focus is on the
party, not the claim itself.
Standing: Jurisdiction. Standing requires
that a litigant have such a personal stake in the outcome of
a controversy as to warrant invocation of a court's
jurisdiction and justify exercise of the court's remedial
powers on the litigant's behalf.
Standing: Words and Phrases. Standing is the
legal or equitable right, title, or interest in the subject
matter of the controversy which entitles a party to invoke
the jurisdiction of the court.
Moot Question. Mootness refers to events
occurring after the filing of a suit which eradicate the
requisite personal interest in the resolution of the dispute
that existed at the beginning of the litigation.
Neb.App. 679] 9. Moot Question: Words and
Phrases. A case becomes moot when the issues
initially presented in the litigation cease to exist, when
the litigants lack a legally cognizable interest in the
outcome of litigation, or when the litigants seek to
determine a question which does not rest upon existing facts
or rights, in which the issues presented are no longer alive.
from the District Court for Gage County: Ricky A. Schreiner,
Benjamin H. Murray, of Germer, Murray & Johnson, for
A. Garrison, of Garrison Law Firm, and Lyle J. Koenig, of
Koenig Law Firm, for appellee.
Chief Judge, and Bishop and Arterburn, Judges.
and Michelle D. filed an action in the district court for
Gage County seeking grandparent visitation with their
grandson, Tayvin D. It is undisputed by the parties that
subsequent to Dean and Michelle's filing, their son
relinquished his parental rights to Tayvin and Tayvin was
later adopted by his stepfather. After the adoption,
Tayvin's mother moved to dismiss Dean and Michelle's
action for grandparent visitation based on standing and
mootness principles. Although the district court concluded
that Dean and Michelle still had standing, it granted the
motion to dismiss because it found that the case had become
moot. Dean and Michelle appeal. We affirm in part, and in
part reverse and remand for further proceedings.
S. and Taylor D. are the biological parents of Tayvin, born
in 2009. Rachel and Taylor divorced in 2013; Rachel
Neb.App. 680] On October 17, 2016, Dean and Michelle, who are
Taylor's parents, filed an action in the district court
seeking grandparent visitation with Tayvin pursuant to Neb.
Rev. Stat. § 43-1802 (Reissue 2016). Dean and Michelle
acknowledged that Rachel had legal and physical custody of
Tayvin. In support of their request for grandparent
visitation, Dean and Michelle alleged (1) they had retained
significant contact with Tayvin since his birth, including
personal contact at least once every month, overnight
visitation during some of the months, and extended visitation
time of 1 to 2 weeks every summer; (2) they had provided
financial support to Tayvin; and (3) they had an existing
"close . . . significant beneficial relationship"
with Tayvin, which was in his best interests to maintain.
Dean and Michelle requested visitation consisting of one
weekend per month, weekly contact for a specified time
period, alternating holiday visitation, and 2 weeks of ...