Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
BLAKE GWIN, by and through his next friend, C.D. Gwin, Appellant,
CITY OF HUMANSVILLE, MISSOURI, LEONARD WALBURN, RHONDA ROGERS and JOHN HENRY, Respondents.
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF POLK COUNTY Honorable James A.
E. SCOTT, J.
Gwin, age 4, visited a friend's home in Humansville. The
boys were playing outside when a free-standing chimney, left
from a fire four years earlier, collapsed and crushed them.
Blake survived. He sued the city and several city officials,
 lost at jury trial, and now appeals,
charging juror misconduct and instructional error. We affirm
the judgment, providing further background below as we
address Gwin's three points.
I - Intentional Juror Nondisclosure
Day received, completed, and returned a juror questionnaire
in the fall of 2015, answering #10 (hereafter "Question
#10") as follows:
five months later, Ms. Day was picked for the jury in this
case, served as foreperson, and joined in the verdicts
denying Gwin's claims.
trial, Gwin's counsel learned that Juror Day had a LLC
under which she offered holistic health and wellness coaching
services, and that she voiced negative views on social media
about vaccinations, the pharmaceutical industry, and some
aspects of traditional medical practice. Gwin's new-trial
motion claimed intentional juror nondisclosure because Juror
Day had not listed her coaching services on the jury
hearing at which Juror Day testified, and without making
specific fact findings, the trial court denied relief. Point
I challenges this ruling and renews the charge that Juror Day
intentionally refused to disclose her self-employment as a
health and wellness coach when she answered Question
Court will not disturb the trial court's ruling on a
motion for a new trial based on juror nondisclosure unless
the trial court abused its discretion, " which means the
ruling was so clearly illogical, arbitrary, unreasonable, and
ill-considered as to shock the sense of justice. Johnson
v. McCullough, 306 S.W.3d 551, 555 (Mo. banc 2010).
Typically, we would first consider whether Question #10 was
sufficiently clear, and if so, then whether Juror Day's
nondisclosure was intentional, which in turn determines
whether we presume prejudice or Gwin must prove it.
Id. at 557; Shields v. Freightliner of
Joplin, 334 S.W.3d 685, 691-92 (Mo.App. 2011). Yet it is
simpler here to bypass the first step (question clarity) and
go straight to the second (intent).
the court made no specific findings in denying the new-trial
motion on this issue, we must deem all facts as having been
found in accordance with the result, including that Juror
Day's nondisclosure was neither intentional
nor sufficiently prejudicial to warrant a new
trial. We find no abuse of discretion
because the record supports both findings.
Day, the lone witness at the new-trial hearing, testified
without contradiction that she didn't mean to deceive
anyone. When she completed the juror questionnaire, she was
working and earning money only as a CMH paramedic, which she
listed. She had no wellness clients and no income as a