Case summaries for July 15 - July 21, 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.
Motion to Set Aside Offers Limited Relief
In an action against an employer for reimbursement to the Second Injury Fund, the Fund prevailed before the Workers' Compensation Division, and in circuit court in a judgment and an amended judgment for reimbursement. Employer filed a motion to set aside judgment arguing legal errors. A motion to set aside offers relief from a judgment issued without jurisdiction or without other considerations of due process. That does not include an error of law, even if present. “Thus, the alleged legal error did not deprive the circuit court of subject matter jurisdiction.” Employer failed to raise a constitutional objection after notice of the motion for amended judgment and so waived that objection. Therefore, appellant employer failed to show that the amended judgment was void, and the Court of Appeals affirms the circuit court’s judgment denying the motion to set aside.
TREASURER OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, AS CUSTODIAN OF THE SECOND INJURY FUND, Petitioner-Respondent v. BARRET S. VAN HORN, Respondent-Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD37311
No Supplemental Record on Appeal
At the trial level, within the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, an Appeals Tribunal must consider all relevant Division of Employment Security records. At the judicial level, where constitutional provisions limit review, claimant has the right to submit a brief on the complete record. Therefore, when the Division of Employment Security files a motion to supplement the record on appeal with “numerous records that are material to [c]laimant’s claim but were not in evidence before the [a]ppeals [t]ribunal or the Commission [,]” the Court of Appeals denies the motion and remands the action to an appeals tribunal for re-hearing to consider those records.
Shannon Noonan, Appellant, vs. Troyeco, LLC, and Division of Employment Security, Respondents.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED110111
No Law and Fact in Repayment Order
Appellant’s points relied on are clear enough for the Court of Appeals to discern appellant’s arguments so the Court can decide the appeal on the merits and need not dismiss. Employer appealed the grant of benefits on a theory that claimant was overpaid while disqualified from benefits. Labor and Industrial Relations Commission agreed and ordered claimant to repay benefits. But those orders “state only the bare legal conclusion that [claimant] was disqualified. No legal or factual basis for the disqualification was ever given, and no factual findings supporting any of the available legal bases for disqualification were ever set forth, nor were any credibility determinations made.” And no evidence showed misconduct or a voluntary quit. Reversed.
Yuzi Mussa vs. Division of Employment Security
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD84578
Change in Appeal Procedure Affected Pending Litigation
Statutes, allowing an award of litigation expenses for a non-State party prevailing against a State agency in limited circumstances, require that the non-State party initiate the action in the forum where the non-State party first prevailed. Respondent non-State parties first prevailed in the Court of Appeals, in that the Court of Appeals first accepted respondents’ winning argument, and issued a mandate limited to issuing a judgment consistent with the opinion. But respondents initiated their action in the Administrative Hearing Commission, for a recommendation to the Missouri Mining Commission, which issued an award to respondents. Pending that litigation, a statutory amendment governing appeals from Missouri Mining Commission decisions took effect, moving authority from circuit court to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals, accordingly, has authority over the appeal and reverses the Missouri Mining Commission’s award.
STATE OF MISSOURI, EX REL DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, Petitioner v. FOWLER LAND COMPANY, INC., and MARGARET LEIST REVOCABLE TRUST, SANDY RUNNELS and LINDA HENDERSON, TRUSTEES, Respondents
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District – SD37045
Statute In Effect at the Time of a Charged Offense Determines Authority
Circuit court dismissed an indictment against juvenile under a statutory amendment that removed authority from circuit court to juvenile division. But that amendment was not in effect when the juvenile committed the offense as alleged in the indictment. Therefore, the Court of Appeals reverses the dismissal and remands the juvenile to circuit court.
State of Missouri, Appellant, vs. J.M., Respondent/Defendant.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED109540
Judgment on Reimbursement of Expenses Not Final
Statutes allow an appeal from any specified interlocutory order or a final judgment. The ruling appealed denied all claims for reimbursement of personal representative’s expenditures except one reserved for determination. That ruling was neither a final judgment not any specified interlocutory order, so the Court of Appeals dismisses the appeal.
In the Estate of Luther Hugh Jenkins, Deceased vs. Wade A. Jenkins
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84550
Liability for Taxes Reversed, Liability for Sanctions Affirmed
Cities’ participation in a class action tolled the running of time for collecting taxes due. Circuit court granted summary judgment on the liability of appellant telecommunications company for tax on gross receipts from the sale of telecommunication services. But respondent cities’ ordinances taxed gross receipts from the sale of telecommunication services only within city boundaries. That amount remained genuinely in dispute, defeating summary judgment for the cities. “[T]his Court’s role is to interpret the law, not to amend it [while t]he Cities, by contrast, generally are free to amend their own ordinances.” The Court of Appeals reverses the award of damages and associated awards of litigation expenses for willful under-reporting. Despite appellant’s success on its substantive theory, the circuit court’s order of sanctions has support in a finding of repeated and contumacious failures to comply with discovery related to all gross receipts, which the record supports.
City of Columbia, et al., Respondents, v. Spectra Communications Group, LLC, et al., Appellants.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED109769