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In re Guardianship of Mackley

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

February 25, 2015

IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF SCHERRIE MACKLEY, A MINOR, and BECKY FOSTER, GUARDIAN; IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF CHEYENNE ENGLISH, A MINOR, and EDDIE ENGLISH, GUARDIAN APPELLANTS
v.
CIRCUIT COURT OF CRAWFORD COUNTY APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE CRAWFORD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 17PR-2003-172; 17PR-2003-171] HONORABLE GARY R. COTTRELL, JUDGE

Medlock, Gramlich & Sexton, by: M. Jered Medlock, for appellants.

No response.

PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge

In this consolidated appeal, appellants Scherrie Mackley and Cheyenne English challenge separate orders from the Crawford County Circuit Court denying their petitions to terminate guardianships that had been created when they were children. On appeal, Mackley and English both argue that their guardianships were created solely because of their minority and that, because their incapacity had been removed, their guardianships should have been terminated as a matter of law. We are unable to reach this argument for the reasons set out below, however, and we must dismiss the appeal.

I. Procedural Background

Both Mackley and English were seriously injured in an accident when they were minors. As a result of their injuries, they each received settlements of $100, 000. Because they were minors at the time, the circuit court entered orders appointing guardians for each girl; the girls' only incapacity was their age. In both cases, the guardians were directed to deposit the entirety of the settlement funds into a bank account and agreed not to permit any withdrawals from those deposits except on authority of a circuit court order.

After Mackley and English each reached the age of eighteen, they filed joint petitions with their respective guardians for termination of the guardianships and release of the money. Both wards argued that, because they had reached the age of majority, the guardianships should be terminated by operation of law pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated section 28-65-401 (Supp. 2013). Mackley and English filed separate motions for summary judgment on the issue as well. The circuit court denied both requests for termination: in Mackley's case, the court entered an order denying her motion for summary judgment; in English's case, the court entered an order denying her petition to terminate.

II. Mackley's Appeal

As just noted, Mackley's petition for termination of guardianship was concluded by the circuit court's denial of her motion for summary judgment in an order that read as follows:

On this 23rd day of April, 2014, this matter comes before the Court, the Court being well and sufficiently advised does find as follows:
1. That this Court denies the Motion for Summary Judgment filed in this matter on April 7, 2014.

It is so ordered.

Under Arkansas Rule of Appellate Procedure–3(e), a notice of appeal must designate the order, judgment, or decree from which the appeal is taken. Mackley's notice of appeal specifically states that she is appealing the "order denying a motion for summary judgment." With certain exceptions not applicable here, however, the denial of summary judgment is generally not an appealable order. Banning v. LNV Corp., 2014 Ark.App. 207; Jenkins v. APS Ins., LLC, 2013 Ark.App. 746, 431 S.W.3d 356; see also Courtney v. Ward, 2012 Ark.App. 148, at 9, 391 S.W.3d 686, 692 ("The denial of a motion for summary judgment is an interlocutory order and is not appealable."). Although such an order may be appealable when combined with a dismissal on the merits, see Splawn v. Wade, 2014 ...


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