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McGuire v. Kenoma, LLC

Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc

November 12, 2014

ZACH McGUIRE, et al., Respondents,
v.
KENOMA, LLC, et al., Appellants

Page 660

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HENRY COUNTY. The Honorable James K. Journey, Judge.

The companies were represented by Jean Paul Bradshaw II, Chad E. Blomberg and Mara H. Cohara of Lathrop & Gage LLP in Kansas City.

The plaintiffs were represented by Anthony L. DeWitt, Edward D. Robertson Jr. and Mary D. Winter of Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Gorny LLC in Jefferson City.

Charles F. Speer and Peter B. Bieri of The Speer Law Firm in Kansas City.

OPINION

Page 661

PATRICIA BRECKENRIDGE, JUDGE.

Synergy, LLC, and Kenoma, LLC, (collectively " Synergy" ) appeal the trial court's nunc pro tunc judgment awarding the plaintiffs statutory post-judgment interest on the damages awarded on their tort claims. In its sole point on appeal, Synergy asserts that the trial court erred in entering the nunc pro tunc judgment because a nunc pro tunc judgment may only be used to correct clerical errors and the record reflects that the award of statutory post-judgment interest was not requested or actually awarded until after the judgment became final. It claims this amendment of the judgment is a substantive change, not a correction of a clerical error. Because there is nothing in the record to reflect that the trial court intended to award post-judgment interest in its original judgment, this Court reverses the provisions in the trial court's nunc pro tunc judgment that awarded post-judgment interest.

Factual and Procedural Background

This case was initiated by twelve plaintiffs who filed suit against Synergy, claiming that its large-scale hog operations constituted a temporary nuisance. On May 10, 2011, the trial court entered a judgment against Synergy following a jury trial awarding the plaintiffs damages on their tort claims. The judgment did not award post-judgment interest or state an applicable interest rate as prescribed in section 408.040.[1] Despite this omission, the plaintiffs did not file a timely post-trial motion

Page 662

to request the inclusion of post-judgment interest, seek to amend the judgment, or file an appeal claiming error in the judgment.

In the appeal by Synergy of the original judgment, the court of appeals affirmed the judgment, in part, and reversed it, in part. McGuire v. Kenoma, LLC, 375 S.W.3d 157 (Mo. App. 2012). Because all errors were corrected by the court of appeals in its opinion, it did not remand the case. Id. at 179, 190. After the court of appeals and this Court denied Synergy's post-opinion motions, the court of appeals issued its mandate on September 27, 2012.

After the mandate issued, the plaintiffs filed a motion in the trial court on October 2, 2012, asking the court to award post-judgment interest, set the post-judgment interest rate, and affix their costs. The motion requested an amendment nunc pro tunc of the now final judgment so the plaintiffs could receive post-judgment interest at a rate of 5.09 percent on a principal sum of $1.51 million, retroactive to May 10, 2011. Synergy filed an opposition to the plaintiffs' motion, ...


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