Case summaries for Nov. 24 - Dec. 2, 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.
Reasonable Juvenile Standard Rejected
The approved instructions governing liability for involuntary manslaughter describe “what a reasonable person would do in the circumstances.” No modification to that language, from “person” to “juvenile,” is necessary under any law governing criminal liability of juveniles because that law addresses sentencing and not liability for an offense, and appellant was not a juvenile. Not seeking such a modification did not show that trial counsel was ineffective.
Travone Shaw vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD83935
Cause for Quitting Unrelated to Work
Statutes bar benefits to claimant who quits work without good cause, which includes a medical condition, but only if related to work. Claimant ceased to return contacts from employer, though employer held claimant’s job for claimant, which constituted quitting. Claimant’s cause for quitting was a medical condition, but claimant did not show that the condition was work-related, so the Court of Appeals affirms the denial of benefits.
Michael Menley, Claimant/Appellant, vs. JJF & C, LLC., Employer/Respondent, and Division of Employment Security, Respondent.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED109507
Maintenance Must be Modifiable and Indefinite
A point relied on that alleges a “litany” of mathematical errors in the judgment is multifarious. A point alleging that property division is indeterminable alleges no error. “[P]ost-separation debts incurred before a decree of separation or divorce are marital debts.” Appellant did not show that the circuit court’s valuations of property were stale, and temporary and artificial declines in property values did not support appellant’s allegations on property value and appellant’s income. Marital assets may include a corporation, but not that corporation’s assets, so an award of corporate assets to appellant was error and affected further orders. Evidence supporting respondent’s award of maintenance included respondent’s lack of income-earning assets, long absence from the workforce as agreed to by both parties, and current health problems. The amount of the maintenance award had support in evidence that appellant’s employer depressed his earnings artificially and temporarily, but increases in appellant’s income did not support an increase in the maintenance amount, because it was unrelated to respondent’s reasonable needs. No evidence supported a non-modifiable award or the end date that the circuit court chose for maintenance.
Ellizabeth Ann Janet vs. Robert Michael Janet
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84412
County Quitclaimed to City
Summary judgment resolved all issues as to County, and the circuit court certified that judgment for appeal, so the Court of Appeals may review the judgment. County’s motion for summary judgment established that unambiguously conveyed any County interests in described property to City, and that City accepted that conveyance by maintaining and repairing that property, and City raised no genuine dispute as to those material facts. The precise County interests conveyed to City, and whether a constitutional provision limiting any political subdivision’s interests in private enterprises applies, the Court of Appeals need not resolve because only the City’s liability remains at issue.
Cass County, Missouri vs. City of Lee's Summit, Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84333
Timely Filing is an Element
Rule provides that timely filing is an element of movant’s claim, so movant must plead and prove that element. The time to file started with delivery to the Department of Corrections, but no party contested that date, so movant offered no evidence of that date. “The proper remedy here is to vacate the judgment and remand” for an evidentiary hearing on the facts that constitute timely filing.
Jerry L. Huskey, Movant/Appellant, vs. State of Missouri, Defendant/Respondent.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED109277
Extension of Time Too Late
Rule sets mandatory time limits for filing an amended motion, which the circuit court may extend only within that time, so any later extension of time is unauthorized. An amended motion filed within an unauthorized extension of time is filed late, and late filing of an amended motion raises a presumption of abandonment, into which circuit court must independently inquire. Remanded for that inquiry.
Monique Ransom vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84175
No Objection Needed When No Prejudice Results
Motion alleged that trial counsel was ineffective for deciding to make no objection to State exhibits, but the exhibits were proof merely secondary and cumulative to the victims’ testimony, so failure to object did not prejudice movant. The possibility of a different outcome at trial does not support relief. The motion alleged that trial counsel failed to pursue chain-of-custody issues on exhibits, but each exhibit was admissible on other foundations without regard to the chain of custody, so those allegations state no claim for relief.
VERNON EARL MILLER, Movant-Respondent v. STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent-Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36039