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In re Estate of Lewis

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 18, 2014

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF FRANK LEWIS, DECEASED:
v.
CONSTANCE SLAUGHTER HARVEY AND ROBERT M. LOGAN, APPELLEES FRANKLIN LEWIS, EXECUTOR, APPELLANT

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: NEWTON COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/30/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON.H. DAVID CLARK II. TRIAL COURT GUARDIANSHIP CONFIRMED.

FOR APPELLANT: ORVIS A. SHIYOU JR., CANDANCE L. RICKMAN.

FOR APPELLEES: OTTOWA E. CARTER JR., ROBERT M. LOGAN JR., JASON AVERY MANGUM.

BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., ISHEE AND MAXWELL, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. CARLTON, J., CONCURS IN RESULT ONLY.

OPINION

Page 203

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

MAXWELL, J.

¶1. This is an appeal from an order entitled " Interim Judgment" that the chancellor entered in a guardianship-based fee dispute. While the chancellor decided the guardianship issue, there is no record that he resolved Appellees' request to recoup attorneys' fees spent defending an allegedly frivolous challenge by Appellant to recover legal fees already disbursed from the guardianship account. Because the " Interim Judgment" was interlocutory in nature and not a final, appealable judgment, we lack jurisdiction and must dismiss the appeal.

Facts and Procedural History

A. Initial Guardianship Proceeding and First Appeal

¶2. On April 17, 2009, James Nelson filed a petition for appointment of a conservator over his longtime friend, Frank Lewis. On May 1, 2009, a hearing was held, which led to an agreed judgment being entered establishing a guardianship over Lewis. The chancellor appointed Lewis's attorney, Constance Slaughter Harvey, as guardian of his estate. And he appointed Lewis's son, Franklin Lewis (Junior), as guardian of his person. The chancellor awarded attorneys' fees both to Harvey and to Nelson's attorney, Robert Logan.

¶3. On June 4, 2009, Lewis, with new counsel, appealed, arguing statutory requirements

Page 204

establishing the guardianship had not been met since two adult relatives within the third degree of kinship of Lewis were not joined and properly noticed. See Miss. Code Ann. § 93-13-281 (Rev. 2013). This court agreed and, on October 5, 2010, issued an opinion reversing the chancellor's establishment of a guardianship for Lewis. In re Guardianship of Estate of Lewis,45 So.3d 313, 318 (¶ ¶ 14-15) (Miss. Ct. App. 2010). In doing so, we stayed the effects of our reversal and remanded the case to the chancellor " so that the ...


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