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Ex parte Parker

Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo

January 3, 2014

EX PARTE JULIE PARKER

On Appeal from the County Court Wilbarger County, Texas Trial Court No. 26, 023, Honorable Mike Bird, Presiding

Before QUINN, C.J., and CAMPBELL and PIRTLE, JJ.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

James T. Campbell Justice

The trial court, sitting without a jury, granted the application of Jennifer Redfearn Oliver for her appointment as permanent guardian of the person and estate of her daughter Julie Louise Parker. Parker appeals, acting pro se and without the involvement of her appointed guardian or her attorney ad litem. We have considered her appeal, and will affirm the trial court's order.

Background

At the time Oliver filed the application in the County Court of Wilbarger County seeking appointment as permanent guardian of her 34-year-old daughter's person and estate, Parker was a resident of the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon.[1] The application stated Oliver believed her daughter suffered from schizoaffective disorder and paranoid delusions. As a result, Oliver alleged, Parker is unable to make informed decisions to care for herself or to manage her financial affairs. The application requested that Parker be ordered to submit to " a comprehensive mental health, psychological and psychiatric evaluation."

The record contains the waiver and renunciation by which Parker's sister renounced any right to serve as guardian, in favor of the appointment of their mother Oliver.[2]

The court appointed an attorney ad litem for Parker, and after Parker's maternal grandmother filed a competing application for appointment as guardian and requested transfer of the proceedings, the case was transferred to the 46th District Court of Wilbarger County. After the physician first appointed to examine Parker determined he had a conflict of interest, the court ordered that she be examined by Susan A. Stone, M.D.[3]

The district court held a bench trial at which Oliver, Parker and Dr. Stone testified. The court appointed Oliver permanent guardian of her daughter's person and estate, with full powers.

Analysis

Although Parker's pro se brief contains several contentions regarding Parker's relationships with her parents and others, and regarding her disappointment over the withdrawal of counsel for her grandmother prior to the hearing, we perceive that the brief raises two primary appellate issues: an asserted conflict of interest on the part of Dr. Stone and the court's choice of Parker's mother Oliver as her guardian. The brief also contains statements generally asserting the assistance of her appointed attorney ad litem was ineffective. We will address those issues.

Issue One – Conflict of Interest of Expert Witness

As noted, Dr. Stone was appointed by the trial court to examine Parker, pursuant to statute. Tex. Prob. Code Ann. § 687 (West Supp. 2013). Parker contends that Stone had a conflict of interest. She argues Stone was retained by her mother Oliver. We will overrule the issue, for the following reasons.

First, the issue presents nothing for our review. Rule of Appellate Procedure 33.1 applies to appellate complaints over the admission of expert testimony. See Guadalupe-Blanco River Auth. v. Kraft, 77 S.W.3d 805, 807 (Tex. 2002) (" To preserve a complaint that an expert's testimony is unreliable, a party must object to the testimony before trial or when it is offered"). That rule requires, as a prerequisite to presentation of a complaint for appellate review, that the complaint was made to the trial court by timely request, objection or motion. Tex.R.App.P. 33.1(a). The record reflects no objection was raised with the trial court when Stone was appointed, nor was any objection raised when her deposition testimony was presented at trial. The trial court was never made aware of Parker's concerns about Stone nor was the court asked to rule on her objections. The record reflects that Parker was aware of the contact between ...


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