Case summaries for Dec. 30, 2021 - Jan. 6, 2022
Each week, The Missouri Bar provides links to all hand downs published online during the past seven days by the Supreme Court of Missouri and the Missouri Court of Appeals. The Missouri Bar has created headings and summaries for each case. Summaries are not part of the opinions of the Court. They have been prepared for the convenience of the reader and should not be quoted or cited.
Appellant’s Brief Requires Dismissal
Appeal is a review of rulings for error, which appellant must cite and support by following the rules governing appellate procedure, and which no court will do for appellant. Appellant “made no effort to comply with” rules of appellate procedure and “fail[ed] to heed this Court’s prior admonitions” leaving appellant’s claims unreviewable. Appeal dismissed.
JERRY D. BRUMBAUGH, Appellant vs. KENNETH ZELLERS, as Director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, Respondent
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD37170
No Liability to Third Party for Failure to Update Client’s Trust
The elements of legal malpractice include the privity of an attorney-client relationship between plaintiff and defendant. An exception to that requirement exists for intended third-party beneficiaries under a trust amendment executed ineffectively. Settlor intended to benefit plaintiffs by an amendment to settlor’s trust, and instructed attorney to amend trust accordingly, but no execution of the amendment ever occurred. On those facts, intended beneficiary plaintiffs had no claim for legal malpractice, because plaintiffs were not clients, and the absence of an executed document leaves the intent speculative. “[E]ven if a testator had made note of his or her intent through declarations to relatives, friends, neighbors and the like … that intent may change over time during the estate-planning process.”
Wanda L. Alberts, et al. vs. Turnbull Conway, P.C. (f/k/a Turnbull & Stark, P.C.) and Stephen Christopher Conway
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84235
State Legal Expense Fund Not Liable
State Legal Expense Fund indemnifies respondent city for liabilities to victim as determined under the statutes in effect when claimant filed an action against victim. “[T]he right to [Fund] payment does not arise until a claim is made.” When victim filed an action against city for conduct of city employees, statutes allowed the Fund to defend city, but barred indemnification of judgment against respondent’s police officers. Circuit court erred in applying the statutes in effect when the events underlying claimant’s action occurred. Court of Appeals reverses declaratory judgment and remands.
State of Missouri, el rel. Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Appellant, vs. City of St. Louis, Respondent.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED108130
Abandonment Inquiry Required
Appointed counsel filed an amended motion late, which requires circuit court to inquire into abandonment, but which circuit court did not do. Court of Appeals reverses judgment and remands for an inquiry into abandonment.
JOSEPH A. SMILEY, Appellant vs. STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD37012