Case summaries for May 1 - May 7
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.
Appellate | Criminal | DWI | Insurance | Local Government | Probate | Workers' Compensation
Statement of Facts Must Relate to Appellant’s Case
“In order that [an appellate court] may adjudicate an appeal without becoming an advocate for the appellant, the appellant must define the scope of the controversy by stating the relevant facts fairly and concisely.” In appellants’ brief, the statement of facts described the procedural history of other cases against respondent but not the facts underlying appellants’ case in circuit court. Appellants’ point relied on identifies no ruling appealed and no reason for appealing it. Appellants’ argument does not address their points relied on. Dismissed.
RICHARD A. CARDEN and ROSALIE P. CARDEN, Plaintiffs-Appellants vs. HSBC MORTGAGE SERVICES, INC., f/k/a HOUSEHOLD FINANCE CORP., Defendant-Respondent
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36172
Warrantless Search Okay for Person, Not Car
The United States Constitution’s Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment bar warrantless searches with a few exceptions. When “specific and articulable facts” support a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, a police officer may conduct an investigative stop, which may include a protective pat-down. A further search may occur incident to arrest, meaning a reasonable person believes they are not free to go, but extends only to the person and the area within a person’s control. The area within respondent’s control did not include respondent’s car when officers arrested respondent. The results of searching respondent’s vehicle without a warrant were, therefore, inadmissible and circuit court did not err in granting a motion to suppress.
State of Missouri vs. Kyle Matthew Ledbetter
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD83251
Repeal of Statute Not Retroactive
Circuit court’s ruling on a motion for judgment on the pleadings depends on whether the law entitles the movant to a judgment as a matter of law on the face of the pleadings. Statutory bar to probation and parole for certain offenders was part of offenders’ sentence, and sentence once imposed cannot change. Saving statute, addressing changes to sentencing statutes, applies only to criminal actions while pending and has no application to any action when appeals are exhausted.
Michael French vs. Missouri Department of Corrections
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD81747
Contact Was Consensual
“Generally, there are three categories of police-citizen encounters: (1) a consensual encounter; (2) an investigative detention requiring only reasonable suspicion based upon specific articulable facts; and (3) an arrest requiring probable cause.” Driver consented to contact with police officer when driver pulled over in front of officer’s car to let passengers out so, even without any suspicion of criminal activity, the officer was free to inquire of driver about those events. Reasonable suspicion of criminal activity supporting an investigative detention, and probable cause to arrest driver, arose when the officer observed signs of intoxication. Officer’s testimony on horizontal gaze nystagmus test provided a foundation for admitting the results of that test into evidence, and “[a]ny deviation from the procedures discussed goes to weight, not admissibility.” Statute provides that portable breath tests are not evidence of intoxication, but can constitute probable cause for an arrest, and appellate courts presume that circuit judge knows and correctly applies that law.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff-Respondent v. JUSTIN KEITH LONG, Defendant-Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD35759
Owned Vehicle Exclusion Applied
Appellate courts review summary judgment de novo. Exclusions do not make a policy inherently ambiguous. Each one of three policies respectively covering appellant’s three vehicles excluded bodily injury covered by the other two. They did so by excluding injuries occurring in a vehicle owned by appellant but not named in the policy. Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law requires policies to provide minimum coverage, which appellant gets under the applicable policy, so the exclusion does not conflict with that Law. Declaration pages do not create ambiguities because they are not substantive terms.
TIM JOHNSON, Appellant vs. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Respondent
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36368
Gravel Mining Permit Upheld
Statutes provide that Board of Adjustment approves a decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission unless clear and convincing evidence requires denial. Errors not raised before an administrative agency are waived on judicial review. Point relied on must cite authority showing error. Theory not raised in point relied on is waived even if developed in argument section. Appellants did not show that a procedural irregularity invalidates a Board decision or that any violation of Robert’s Rules of Order occurred. County ordinance specifically lists gravel mining as a use compatible with county’s master plan, when conditions of operation protect neighboring property values, as to which the record supported a finding in favor of granting the permit. Conditions included compliance with local, state, and federal standards, buffer zones, traffic safety, and sunsetting of operation.
Kim Lynch, et al., Appellants, vs. Franklin County, Missouri, et al., Respondents.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED107731
Indenture unambiguously established trustees, beneficiaries, and distributions. Distributions have a yearly limit that the circuit court misapplied, so Court of Appeals remands to correct its judgment and reduce the amounts distributed for the year.
Paul Arthaud, Respondent, vs. Gordon Arthaud, et al., Appellants.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED107988
No Evidence Necessary to Deny a Claim
Just as a defendant’s verdict is not subject to challenge for lack of supporting evidence, the denial of employee’s claim needs no evidentiary support, because the prevailing party had no burden. When appellant challenges an award of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission for lack of competent evidence, appellant’s argument must address all evidence supporting the award, and omission of any such evidence “dooms” the appeal. In such a challenge, “evidence contrary to the award of the Commission, regardless of quantity or quality, is ‘irrelevant.’” The Commission’s determinations on credibility are binding.
PHILLIP GUINN, Appellant vs. TREASURER OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI AS CUSTODIAN OF THE SECOND INJURY FUND, Respondent
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36380 and SD36410