Case summaries for Aug. 14 - Aug. 20
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.
Unauthorized Decision Not Subject to Contested Case Review
State agency issued notice decreasing Medicaid payments to nursing facilities. Nursing facilities filed an action challenging the validity of the administrative rule underlying the notices, though the statutes do not authorize any such administrative remedy before the Administrative Hearing Commission. The Commission made findings of fact on the validity of the regulation, but did not rule on the relief requested, so the Commission’s decision did not affect the legal rights or duties of any person. Such a decision does not constitute a decision in a contested case, so circuit court had no authority to review it as a contested case, as nursing facility sought. Statutes allow a declaratory judgment action in circuit court without exhausting any administrative remedy. Remanded to circuit court for petitioners to amend their filings into petitions for declaratory judgment.
Little Sisters of the Poor, et al., vs. Missouri Department of Social Services and MO Healthnet Division
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD82935
Statutes Govern Court of Appeals’ Jurisdiction
Statutes determine the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals, and the statutes provide no appeal from an interlocutory order denying a motion to intervene in a juvenile action for State custody, so an appeal from such an order is subject to dismissal.
In the Interest of: L.L. & L.L., Juveniles; Juvenile Officer vs. D.L.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD83257 and WD83258
Same Claims, Same Theories, Same Results on Appeal
The instant judgment on appeal arose from the same facts, claims, and defenses as in an earlier related action: payment of taxes on disputed land. The summary judgment in the earlier related action was reversed on appeal, and the summary judgment in the instant action is reversed for the same reason: a genuine dispute remained.
TANEYCOMO LAKEFRONT RESORT and RV PARK, LLC, Appellant vs. EMPIRE DISTRICT ELECTRIC COMPANY, Respondent
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36385
Sur-Replies and Other Responses Explained for Summary Judgment
A defending movant for summary judgment prevails by establishing material facts, beyond genuine dispute, negating an element of the claim. Elements of a claim for malicious prosecution include instigation of the claim, with proof that a defending party’s participation consisted of a related report on use of force. Elements of a claim for malicious prosecution also include the absence of probable cause to support the prosecution. Probable cause to support the prosecution was an element of non-movant claimant’s action in federal court, judgment in which collateral estopps re-litigation of that issue, but only on a charge-specific basis. “[T]he existence of probable cause to prosecute one criminal offense does not preclude a claim of malicious prosecution for other charged offenses.” Therefore, claimant may show that no probable cause supported the prosecution. The elements of malicious prosecution further include the prosecution’s termination in claimant’s favor, which includes the dismissal with no intent to re-file, a factual issue. That fact was subject to a genuine dispute by a nolle prosequi and deposition testimony of the prosecutor. Rule governing summary judgment permits, but does not require, the non-moving party to file a legal memorandum in opposition explaining why summary judgment should be denied. Rules require a sur-reply in response to additional material facts, but otherwise do not bar the filing of a sur-reply. A sur-reply may raise legal arguments for the first time.
Nicholas Demanule Daniels vs. Officer Ryan Terranova, et al.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD82785
Circumstantial Evidence Analyzed
To support a finding of guilt, items of circumstantial evidence need not “be consistent with each other, consistent with the guilt of the defendant, and inconsistent with any reasonable theory of his innocence.” Finder of fact in circuit court must weigh all circumstantial evidence collectively to make its findings, and those findings are subject to review before an appellate court on all circumstantial evidence collectively. Defendant’s nervous demeanor, alone, cannot show that defendant possessed contraband found in a car with another occupant. But defendant’s extreme nervousness, while looking at the place where her personal belongings—including a bag holding a large amount of contraband—were within easier reach than the other occupant, supported a finding that defendant possessed that contraband.
State of Missouri vs. Melissa Ann Glaze
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD82708
Substantial Identity of Interests Is a Matter of Fact
In an action under the Missouri Human Rights Act, the original petition named as defendant one entity, and the amended petition named appellant related entity. Rule allows the filing of an amended petition, which will relate back to the date of the original petition, freely as required by justice. Justice looks to whether appellant was the intended party, and whether appellant had enough notice of the original petition that to suffer no prejudice in preparing its defense, both of which conditions were met. Circuit court correctly granted a motion to file the amended petition and erred in later dismissing the amended petition. Appellant had an arbitration agreement with respondent, which respondent moved to enforce, so circuit court must rule on that motion on remand. The substantive law governing any event is the law in effect when that event occurred. The rights and duties relevant to an event is a substantive matter, not a procedural matter, so rights and duties applicable are those provided by law when the event occurred. Whether plaintiff preserved their rights in circuit court, against a defendant not named in an administrative complaint, depends on whether the defendant omitted from the administrative complaint shared “substantial identity of interests” with the persons named in the administrative complaint. Whether any substantial identity of interests existed is a matter of fact that the circuit court must determine on the record, which it did not do before dismissing two defendants, so the Court of Appeals reverses that ruling and remands it for a determination of the facts on the record.
Floyd Steven Wiedner vs. Ferrellgas, Inc., and Aravind Sreedharan and Sue Hasty
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD83377
SVP Confinement Affirmed
Statutes, governing an action for confinement in a secure facility, as a sexually violent predator, require commencement of the action no later than a certain number of days before anticipated release, not actual release. Even if respondent filed the petition late, the subject matter of a circuit court is determined by the Missouri Constitution, not by timely filing or a third-party agency’s change in release date. In an action for confining appellant in a secure facility, the elements included the likelihood, greater than not that appellant will commit future predatory sexual violence unless confined due to mental abnormality. The mental abnormality need not be specified in jury instructions.
In the Matter of the Care and Treatment of Daniel J. Jensen vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD82836
Motion’s Allegations Must Match Findings from Evidentiary Hearing
An evidentiary hearing’s purpose is to determine the truth of the motion’s allegations, not to refine the motion’s allegations. Trial counsel’s advice was that white victims, black robbers, and a black defendant who had confessed, made a strong case against him in Boone County. Those allegations were unpreserved in a motion alleging that trial counsel’s advice was that movant would lose in a Boone County trial because most Boone Countians are white, the victims were white, and movant was black. When claiming ineffective assistance of counsel, counsel’s advice as alleged in circuit court must match counsel’s advice as alleged on appeal. Because the motion did not challenge in circuit court the advice actually given before his plea, his appeal from judgment on the motion cannot challenge it either.
Darion Polk vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD82759
Record Requires Inquiry into Abandonment
Rule allows one extension of time for filing an amended motion. Appointed counsel filed a motion under that rule, the record shows no ruling on it, and the amended motion was late. “Specifically, no signed copy of the motion for extension exists in the record, and the record contains no docket entry indicating that the motion court ruled on the request.” On those facts, the circuit court must independently inquire into whether appointed counsel abandoned the movant, but the circuit court made no such inquiry and ruled on the amended motion. The amended motion was outside the circuit court’s authority if it was late without excuse. Remanded for inquiry.
Brian M. Martin, Appellant, vs. State of Missouri, Respondent.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED107773
For Assessment Approach, Facts Which, Regulations Determine How
The State Tax Commission’s regulations direct which of the several standard approaches to property assessment, and which methodologies within those approaches, apply in the assessment of various properties. Those regulations are binding on an assessor and the Commission. A board of equalizations’ finding of fact is presumed correct, but the Commission correctly found that presumption rebutted by evidence that the board used a depreciation calculation that omitted property owner’s updated information. But when the Commission’s regulation required the cost reproduction method to include the unit value method, and the Commission failed to do so, the Court of Appeals reverses that ruling. Remanded to the Commission to include the unit value method in its analysis.
Cathy Rinehart, Assessor Clay County, Missouri vs. Laclede Gas Company
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD83105
Police Line of Duty Standards Explained
On the day that decedent died, the Line of Duty Compensation Act provided awards from the Line of Duty Compensation Fund for police officers “killed in the line of duty [,]” meaning “in the active performance of [the officer’s] duties.” The officer’s duties do not include on-call status, so death from a heart attack while working a second job unrelated to police officer’s duties does not entitle decedent’s estate to an award. Later amendments to the eligibility for an award constituted substantive changes, so they applied only prospectively, but would not have altered the outcome. Decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, denying a claim for benefits, affirmed.
Estate of Dale Newman by Tracey Eatherton, Appellant, v. City of Leadwood, Missouri, and Division of Workers' Compensation as Administrator of the Line of Duty Compensation Fund, Respondents.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED107986