Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
APPEAL FROM THE LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMISSION.
GREGORY LITVINCHYK, Appellant acting Pro se.
LARRY R. RUHMANN, Jefferson City, MO, for Respondent.
Before Rahmeyer, J., Lynch, J., and Burrell, J.
Gregory Litvinchyk (" Claimant" ) appeals the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (" the Commission" ) that Claimant was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because he was discharged for misconduct connected with his work. Due to serious briefing deficiencies that make it impossible for this court to determine Claimant's factual and legal complaints, the motion to dismiss filed by Respondent Division of Employment Security is well-taken, and we dismiss Claimant's appeal.
Although we recognize the difficulties faced by non-lawyers who choose to represent themselves on appeal, a pro se litigant is held to the same standards as attorneys, including the duty to comply with the applicable Missouri Court Rules. Carlson v. Healthcare Servs. Grp., 275 S.W.3d 382, 384 (Mo. App. S.D. 2009). " A deficient appellate brief that does not comply with the briefing requirements of Rule 84.04 preserves nothing for appellate review[,]" Ward v. United Eng'g Co., 249 S.W.3d 285, 287 (Mo. App. E.D. 2008), and such deficiencies constitute grounds to dismiss the appeal. Nichols v. Div. of Empl. Sec., 399 S.W.3d 901, 903 (Mo. App. W.D. 2013).
Claimant's Statement of Facts is not a " fair and concise statement of the facts relevant to the questions presented for determination without argument" as required by Rule 84.04(c), and it contains no citations to the record. As a result, Claimant's Statement of Facts fails to fulfill its " primary purpose" -- " to afford an immediate, accurate, complete and unbiased understanding of the facts of the case." Nichols, 399 S.W.3d at 903 (internal quotation and citation omitted).
Claimant's " Points Relied On" claims only that the Commission erred in reaching its ultimate decision that Claimant was disqualified from receiving benefits; it fails to assert any legal reason why the Commission committed reversible error in reaching that conclusion. See Rule 84.04(d)(2)(A)-(C). Claimant does not appear to deny that he threatened his supervisor, but he does deny that he did so willfully, claiming that his reaction was based on the fact that he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Commission found that Claimant's actions amounted to willful misconduct due to Claimant's failure to present any evidence supporting his claim that he suffered from PTSD.
To attempt to guess what Claimant's legal complaint might be -- and then form a coherent legal argument in favor of such a proposition -- would place us in the impermissible position of acting as his advocate. See Evers v. Sunset Village of Ozarks, Inc., 415 S.W.3d 139, 140 (Mo. App. S.D. 2013).
Rule 84.04(d)(5) provides that immediately following the Points Relied On, the appellant must include a list of cases, not to exceed four, and other authorities upon which the party principally relies. Apart from a reference to Jarvis v. Potter, 500 F.3d 1113 (10th ...