Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF CHRISTIAN COUNTY Honorable Judge
Jessica L. Kruse
W. SHEFFIELD, J.
lost their motion to intervene in an ongoing juvenile case,
J.P. and C.P. ("Appellants") appeal the trial
court's interlocutory order and cite prior cases
authorizing them to appeal from the interlocutory order. We
find those cases were rejected by recent, controlling
decisions of the Supreme Court of Missouri in State ex
rel. Koster v. ConocoPhillips Co., 493 S.W.3d 397, 399
(Mo. banc 2016), and in Meadowfresh Solutions USA, LLC v.
Maple Grove Farms, LLC, 578 S.W.3d 758, 760 (Mo. banc
2019). Accordingly, as explained herein, we must dismiss the
and Procedural History
previously adopted three half-siblings of minor child S.M.B.
after having served as foster parents for those children.
Appellants petitioned to adopt S.M.B. but were denied in
favor of S.M.B.'s adoption by another couple. When S.M.B.
was returned to state custody, Appellants filed a
"Motion to Intervene and Be Appointed Next Friend of
Adopted Minor Siblings" where they sought to intervene
in S.M.B.'s case as a matter of right or permissively
under Rule 52.12(a) and (b). The trial court held a hearing
and denied Appellants' motion to intervene. Appellants
filed a motion for new trial on the denial of the motion to
intervene. The motion for new trial was also denied.
Appellants appealed from the trial court's decision
denying the motion to intervene.
Court then issued a "show cause" order asking
Appellants why their appeal should not be dismissed for lack
of a final judgment in the underlying juvenile case. In
response, Appellants filed Suggestions in Opposition to
Dismissal, and this Court took those Suggestions with the
seek to appeal the trial court's denial of their motion
to intervene. The trial court's denial did not constitute
a final judgment in the underlying juvenile case, but rather
was an "interlocutory order." An interlocutory
order is "an order that is not final and decides some
point or matter between the commencement and the end of a
suit but does not resolve the entire controversy."
Buemi v. Kerckhoff, 359 S.W.3d 16, 20 (Mo. banc
2011). The right to appeal is statutory and where no statute
gives the right to appeal, then the right does not exist.
Meadowfresh, 578 S.W.3d at 760;
ConocoPhillips, 493 S.W.3d at 399. An interlocutory
order may only be immediately appealed when specific
statutory authority grants the party the right to such an
appeal. See ConocoPhillips, 493 S.W.3d at 399-400.
point to section 512.020, the general statute dealing with
civil appeals, and to previous appellate court decisions as
the grounds for their right to an immediate appeal.
Appellants rely on In re L.J.H., 67 S.W.3d 751 (Mo.
App. S.D. 2002), and In re D.T., 248 S.W.3d 74 (Mo.
App. W.D. 2008), which found section 512.020 permitted the
parties to appeal the trial court's interlocutory orders.
See L.J.H., 67 S.W.3d at 753; D.T., 248
S.W.3d at 77-78. In addition, the analysis in D.T.
relied on both L.J.H. and In re M.B., 91
S.W.3d 122 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002) for the proposition that
"grandparents denied the right to intervene in juvenile
proceedings under section 211.177, RSMo 2000, have standing
to appeal under section 512.020." D.T., 248
S.W.3d at 77. M.B., in turn, relied on In re
S.R.L., which cited State ex rel. Reser v.
Martin for the proposition that a right to appeal exists
from the denial of a motion for intervention by right. In
re S.R.L., 984 S.W.2d 558, 558 (Mo. App. S.D. 1999)
(citing State ex rel. Reser v. Martin, 576 S.W.2d
289, 291 (Mo. banc 1978)). The court in
ConocoPhillips, however, stated: "[t]o the
extent cases rely on Reser to hold or suggest that a
proposed intervenor" has a right to an immediate appeal
following a motion to intervene that is denied via
interlocutory order, "those cases should no longer be
followed." ConocoPhillips, 493 S.W.3d at
Supreme Court in ConocoPhillips stated:
"[t]here is no special statute granting a right to
immediate appeal where a motion to intervene as a matter of
right is overruled in an interlocutory order, and the general
statute dealing with civil appeals grants no such
right." 493 S.W.3d at 399 (footnote omitted). Further,
"nothing in section 512.020 (or any other statute)
grants the right of immediate appeal to one whose motion to
intervene as a matter of right is denied in an interlocutory
order[.]" Id. at 400. Section 512.020 can no
longer be used as statutory authority for the right to an
immediate appeal from the denial of an interlocutory order
and earlier opinions to the contrary are no longer good law.
Because the right to appeal is entirely statutory, and does
not exist in the absence of statutory authority,
Meadowfresh, 578 S.W.3d at 760, we dismiss this
appeal is dismissed.
JEFFREY W. BATES, C.J., DON ...