Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State, Department of Social Services, Family Support Division v. Swank

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

October 25, 2016

STATE OF MISSOURI, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, FAMILY SUPPORT DIVISION, Appellant,
v.
RANDY JAY SWANK, D/B/A R. SWANK FARMS, Respondent.

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF GRUNDY COUNTY, MISSOURI THE HONORABLE STEVEN D. HUDSON, JUDGE

          Before: Thomas H. Newton, Presiding Judge, Cynthia L. Martin, Judge and Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Judge

          EDWARD R. ARDINI, JR., JUDGE

         The Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division ("Division"), appeals the circuit court's entry of judgment in favor of Randy Swank d/b/a R. Swank Farms ("Swank"). The Division's sole point on appeal is that the trial court erred in denying its Petition to Enforce Child Support Withholding Order, arguing that Swank was strictly liable for his failure to comply with the income withholding order issued pursuant to section 454.505.8, RSMo 2003. This court agrees, reverses the judgment of the trial court, and remands for entry of judgment against Swank in the remaining amount that should have been withheld and such further relief as authorized by section 454.505.8.

         I. STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In December 2012, the Division issued an income withholding order to Swank, who was the employer of Michael Silkwood ("Silkwood"), for Silkwood's current child support obligation and arrears. Swank received the order and began to withhold from Silkwood's paychecks. The Division received payments pursuant to the order from Swank during January and February 2013. Swank then received a document from Silkwood, allegedly written by the child support obligee and signed by both the obligee and Silkwood, which stated in relevant part as follows:

I[, ] Melissa Johnson[, ] mother of [B.S., ] give her father[, ] Michael Silkwood[, ] primary custody of [B.S.]. . . I furthermore relic wish [sic] him from all child support payments[, ] future and arrears[, ] due me[] as of this the 6th day of September 2010. By signing below[, ] Michael and myself are in agreement to these terms stated above.

         Swank provided the document to an employee of his accountant and thereafter income was no longer withheld from Silkwood's paycheck. The order received by Swank from the Division included the following instructions:

If you have any doubts about the validity of this [order], contact the sender. If you fail to withhold income from the employee/obligor's income as the [order] directs, you are liable for both the accumulated amount you should have withheld and any penalties set by State or Tribal law/procedure.

         There is no evidence in the record on appeal, however, that Swank contacted the Division regarding the veracity of the document provided by Silkwood or its effect on the validity of the order.

         Because Swank did not withhold and remit the income as ordered, the Division filed a Petition to Enforce Child Support Withholding Order. Swank was the employer of Silkwood at all relevant times from December 2012 to July 2013 and added Silkwood to this action as a third party defendant. Silkwood, however, did not appear or participate in the proceedings. Finding that Swank "did not willfully fail or refuse to comply with the withholding directives and in good faith, after appropriate consultation with his professional accountant, abandoned his planned withholding, " the circuit court entered judgment in favor of Swank. We reverse and remand.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The trial court's judgment will be affirmed "unless there is no substantial evidence to support it, it is against the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the law." State Dep't of Social Services, Family Support Division v. Centrec Care, Inc., 472 S.W.3d 648, 649 (Mo. App. E.D. 2015) (citing Missouri Dep't of Social Services, Family Support Division v. J & J Indus. Supply, Inc., 459 S.W.3d 478, 480 (Mo. App. E.D. 2015); Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.3d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976)).

         III.DISCUS ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.