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In re State of Missouri, Dept. of Social Services

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

February 14, 2017

IN RE THE MATTER OF STATE OF MISSOURI, DEPT. OF SOCIAL SERVICES, FAMILY SUPPORT DIVISION, Respondent,
v.
MICHAEL SHIPLEY, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri The Honorable Patrick William Campbell, Judge.

          Before: James Edward Welsh, P.J., Anthony Rex Gabbert, and Edward R. Ardini, Jr., JJ.

          James Edward Welsh, Presiding Judge.

         Michael Shipley appeals the circuit court's order, requiring him to pay attorney fees in the amount of $2,250 for his eight frivolous claims seeking the enforcement of federal court orders from the Eighth Circuit as foreign judgments. Because of the grievous shortcomings of Shipley's brief, which prevent us from determining what his complaint is, we dismiss Shipley's appeal.

         Shipley appears pro se in this appeal. "We hold pro se appellants to the same procedural rules as attorneys, and we do not grant them preferential treatment regarding compliance with those rules." Kim v. Kim, 431 S.W.3d 524, 525 (Mo. App. 2014). Failure to comply with the rules of appellate procedure constitutes grounds for the dismissal of an appeal. Brown v. Ameristar Casino Kansas City, Inc., 211 S.W.3d 145, 146 (Mo. App. 2007). "This is especially true, when, as is the situation in this case, 'we cannot competently rule on the merits of [Shipley's] argument without first reconstructing the facts . . . and then refining and supplementing his points and legal argument.'" Kim, 431 S.W.3d at 525 (citations omitted). Complying with briefing requirements, as set out by Rule 84.04, is mandatory so that appellate courts do not become advocates by speculating on facts and arguments that have not been made. Bridges v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., 146 S.W.3d 456, 458 (Mo. App. 2004).

         Shipley's brief repeatedly violates Rule 84.04's requirements concerning the contents of briefs. "The failure to substantially comply with Rule 84.04 preserves nothing for review." Anderson v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., 173 S.W.3d 356, 357 (Mo. App. 2005). "Failure to comply with Rule 84.04 merits dismissal." Id.

         Shipley's statement of facts does not comply with Rule 84.04(c). 84.04(c) mandates "a fair and concise statement of the facts relevant to the questions presented for determination without argument." Shipley's brief does not provide a fair and concise statement of the facts. Shipley's statement of facts merely restates portions of the procedural history. "'A statement of facts that consists of nothing more than an abbreviated procedural history fails to provide an understanding of the case and is deficient.'" Parnes v. Centertainment, Inc., 14 S.W.3d 145, 147 (Mo. App. 2000) (citations omitted). An appellant's failure to provide an adequate statement of facts is a sufficient basis to dismiss an appeal. Brown, 211 S.W.3d at 147.

         Additionally, Shipley's point relied on violates Rule 84.04(d)(1)'s requirement that the point "identify the trial court ruling or action that the appellant challenges; . . . state concisely the legal reasons for the appellant's claim of reversible error; and . . . explain in summary fashion why, in the context of the case, those legal reasons support the claim of reversible error." His point relied on states:

The Family Support Division erred in their conclusions of law and determination that Mr. Shipley violated Rule 55.03(c) by presenting frivolous claims with no factual or legal basis with the intent to harass FSD, increase the cost of litigation and abuse the judicial system, and pursuant to 55.03. Mr. Shipley is order to pay FSD's attorney's fees in the amount of $2,250.00 and shall not file any claims, motions, request, pleading or other papers.
The Pre-trial Order, is evidentiary support from Division 43 Commissioner Susan E. Long dated October 4, 2013. Court Findings: "the court further finds that the Order(s) resulting from Mr. Shipley's complaint(s) filed in the United States District Court, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court of the United States may be relevant and Mr. Shipley is not prevented from seeking to admit them at trial in this matter" This reversible claim of error is supported by the August 27, 2014 Notice of Filing of Foreign Judgment and; at any time after registration the Petitioner shall be entitled to have summon issued and serviced upon the judgment debtor, the January 21, 2016 Summon Circuit-Issued ID: 16-SMCM-8, denial of factual contention are warranted on the evidence.
Mr. Shipley has hereby establish a defense and legal contention that are warranted by existing law, that defense is under Missouri Revised Statutes Uniform Enforcement of a Foreign Judgment, and by 'due process of law, Mr. Shipley's Summon ID: 16-SMCM-8 is warranted for 'Final Judgment and Execution' on the merits of evidence in this review, and is entitled to 'Full faith and credit' of the registered foreign judgments;
1). Federal Court Order 8th Circuit for Default Judgment and;
2) Federal Court Order 8th Circuit for Cease and desist
Becoming 'final judgments' of the State of Missouri. Which shall include as part of the judgment interest payable on the foreign judgment under the law of the state in which it was rendered, and cost of obtaining the authenticated copy of the original judgment and the court of obtaining the authenticated copy of the original judgment and the court shall include as its ...

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