Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division
SAMUEL L. MOORE, Plaintiff/Appellant,
MISSOURI HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION, Defendant/Respondent.
from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Hon. David C.
B. SULLIVAN, J
L. Moore (Appellant) appeals from the judgment of the trial
court entered upon a jury verdict in favor of the Missouri
Highway and Transportation Commission (Respondent). We
and Procedural Background
September 27, 2013, Appellant was travelling westbound on
Martin Luther King Drive (MLK) when he collided with a car
driven by Candice Malloyd (Malloyd), traveling northbound on
Jefferson Street (Jefferson). The collision occurred within
the intersection of MLK and Jefferson and caused
Appellant's vehicle to hit the vehicle of William Van
Cotton (Van Cotton), stopped southbound at the intersection.
Both Appellant and Malloyd maintained they had a green light
at the time of the collision. Malloyd testified she was
driving approximately 50 miles per hour as she saw Appellant
approach the intersection, but thought he was going to stop
since she had a green light.
claim against Respondent, which is responsible for the
maintenance and repair of the subject intersection and
traffic signal, alleges the traffic signal at the
intersection malfunctioned by simultaneously displaying green
lights in both the westbound and northbound directions.
the discovery phase, Appellant submitted nine sets of
interrogatories and requests for production to Respondent
seeking information relating to the maintenance and operation
of the subject traffic signal. Less than one week before the
start of trial, Respondent produced a large number of
previously unseen reports of maintenance and repairs of
traffic signals done between 2008 and 2012. Appellant filed a
motion for sanctions which included a request to strike
certain late or unproduced exhibits. Respondent conceded the
late production of the discovery and in exchange for a
withdrawal of the motion for sanctions, Respondent agreed not
to object to any line of questioning as to the veracity of
Monday, July 11, 2016, trial began with voir dire.
Counsel for Appellant queried the jury panel by asking them,
"Who here feels sometimes things just happen, and that
no one should be responsible if a car loses control, leaves a
roadway, is in a crash with another car? Does anybody here
have a mindset that things just happen?" Five panel
members indicated generally they would have difficulty
blaming Respondent or any other entity for a malfunctioning
product. One panel member stated "if there's a
technological malfunction I have trouble discerning that
it's the State's fault." Another said, "I
can't envision a company making a stop light that would
allow two red, two greens at the same time."
Appellant's counsel inquired if anyone else felt the same
way. Juror No. 199 responded, "I'm not sure I would
know who to blame for something like that." Juror No. 75
stated, "I would also think that the safety light
feature would have some sort of a safety where … you
can't have two green lights at the same time."
point, the trial court asked the responding panel members to
stand and asked them:
Regardless of how you feel how these kinds of conflicts ought
to be judged, are you willing to set that aside and make a
decision exclusively on the instructions I give you and the
evidence that I let in? Are you able to do that? And if
you're not, raise your hand. Let the record reflect that
no hand has been raised.
trial court then told counsel to move on to her next subject
voir dire, counsel met with the court to discuss
jury selection. At that time, Appellant made three strikes
for cause, all granted by the court: Juror No. 163; Juror No.
467; and Juror No. 345. Appellant did not mention or move to
strike either Juror No. 75 or Juror No. 199.
trial, Appellant presented two witnesses, each of whom said
they saw the northwest traffic pole assembly display green in
two different directions on one light pole at various times
following the accident. Appellant also called Michelle
Voegele (Voegele), Area Engineer for the City of St. Louis
and Respondent's corporate designee. Appellant questioned
Voegele on the issue of Respondent's late production of
certain discovery materials involving maintenance and repair
records of signals and lighting in the City of St. Louis.
Respondent made no objections to this line of questioning and
the trial court did not intercede.
called electrician James Collier (Collier), another corporate
designee, who managed the repair and maintenance of signals
and lighting in the St. Louis area for the Missouri
Department of Transportation (MoDOT). Through its direct
examination of Collier, Respondent attempted to rebut the
inference of deliberate discovery violations Appellant had
raised in its questioning of Voegele. Appellant, on
cross-examination of Collier, again raised the late discovery
issue. Specifically, the following ensued:
Appellant: There was some talk about the documents earlier
that were given to us and why certain documents weren't
given to us.
The Court: Don't inquire. Next subject.
Appellant: I'm sorry?
The Court: I said do not inquire on that. Go to the next
Appellant: Okay. May I approach, Your Honor?
The Court: No.
Collier's testimony, the trial court ...