Case summaries for Oct. 8 - Oct. 14, 2021
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.
Prosecuting Attorney Represents Director of Revenue
On appeal of license revocation from the Director of Revenue to circuit court, the Director of Revenue has no duty to file a responsive pleading, but has the burden of proof and appears through the prosecuting attorney. Prosecuting attorney’s failure to appear results in a failure to carry the burden of proof. The resulting judgment is on the merits and not void.
Paul Joseph Mottet vs. Director of Revenue, State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84301
Business Records Were Not Hearsay
Hearsay is an out-of-court statement offered for the truth of the matter stated. On charges of stealing, the State offered rental records, not for the truth of the matters the records purported to show, but to show how property manager stole money, so the records were not hearsay. And, even if they were, the State provided the foundation for admissibility of business records as required by statute: the sponsoring witness was familiar with the records, and records bore indicia of reliability as described by statute. Statutes provide that property manager’s course of conduct, stealing rents, constituted a single act so no plain error occurred when instructions did not treat the case as a multiple acts case.
State of Missouri vs. Candy M. Phillips
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD83458
Paternity Action is Not Sole Remedy
The constitution vests jurisdiction over all subject matters in circuit court, and an action for declaration of paternity is not the exclusive procedure for determining the parentage of a child born out of wedlock, so circuit court had jurisdiction and authority to determine child custody and support in a judgment dissolving marriage. A later motion to set aside, or modify, the default judgment in the dissolution action constituted a collateral attack. Rule entitles appellant to a complete transcript and the transcript had 96 instances of inaudible testimony, but review of testimony was unnecessary to review appellant’s points relied on, so no prejudice accrued from any alleged deficiency in the transcript. Circuit court granted a motion to intervene before appellant received notice of the motion, but failed to raise any challenge at the first opportunity, and so waived the issue. Motion to intervene by grandparent includes allegations and evidence to support grandparent visitation or custody. Judgment vesting sole custody in grandparent mooted injunction and temporary restraining order on that subject.
Christopher Mandacina vs. Amanda Pompey; Linda Mandacina
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84158
Judicial Finance Commission Procedure Discussed
Statutes require a county commission to appropriate both a “maintenance of effort” amount for the circuit court’s juvenile division and a “separate” amount for other juvenile division expenses. In budgeting disputes between the circuit and the county commission, rules provide for a review before the Judicial Finance Commission, under a standard of reasonableness. Reasonableness one year says nothing about reasonableness in another year, so Judicial Finance Commission decisions are not res judicata. Reasonableness was not the issue raised in the county commission’s petition to the Judicial Finance Commission, so the Judicial Finance Commission did not err in dismissing that petition, even after initially accepting the petition. Denying leave to amend was not an abuse of discretion when the county commission offered no proposed amendment and did not otherwise timely identify the items at issue in the separate appropriation.
The Board of Commissioners of the County of Franklin, State of Missouri; Tim Brinker, Presiding Commissioner; Todd Boland, First District Commissioner; Dave Hinson, Second District Commissioner; and Angela Gibson, Auditor of the County of Franklin, State of Missouri, Appellants, vs. Twentieth Judicial Circuit of the State of Missouri, by the Honorable I. I. Lamke, Presiding Judge, Respondent.
Supreme Court of Missouri - SC99010
No Prejudice Shown in Failure to File Motion for Transfer
At movant’s criminal trial, the circuit court denied movant an interpreter. The Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling, applying one standard, and appellate counsel failed to file a motion for transfer arguing another standard. But under either standard, the result is the same, so movant failed to show that the failure to file a motion to transfer prejudiced movant.
Harry J. William vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD83859
No Collateral Attack by Declaratory Judgment
As to issues on which appellant sought declaratory judgment, appellant had the opportunity to contest them, while interlocutory or by appeal, or in other pending cases. “A declaratory judgment action may not be used as a subterfuge for relitigating a question as to which a former judgment is conclusive.” Rule requiring circuit court to make findings of fact on request provides that the request must identify the controverted issue and “[f]ailure to do so negated any duty on the part of the trial court to make specific findings of fact.” In an action to quiet title, plaintiff must prove superior title, and defendant’s verdict requires no supporting evidence.
JOYCE CAMP McDERMOT, personally, and as beneficiary and successor trustee under the Barbara J. Hilderbrand Revocable Trust Agreement dated January 11, 2005, as Amended and Restated, Plaintiff-Appellant v. DAVID DONER and STEPHANIE DONER, et al., Defendants-Respondents
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36775