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Rowell v. Killion

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division

December 26, 2017

DONNA J. ROWELL, Appellant,
v.
RAYMOND J. KILLION, III; Respondent, AUTOMOBILE CLUB INTER-INSURANCE EXCHANGE, Respondent.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Platte County, Missouri Honorable Thomas Clark Fincham, Judge

          Before Anthony Rex Gabbert, P.J., Thomas H. Newton, and Gary D. Witt, JJ.

          Thomas H. Newton, Judge

         Ms. Donna Rowell appeals a Platte County circuit court judgment granting the Automobile Club Inter-Insurance Exchange's motion to intervene and motion to set aside the judgment. We reverse.

         Facts & Procedure

         Appellant, Donna Rowell, filed a petition for damages against Raymond Killion, III, whose negligence caused a car accident resulting in Ms. Rowell's injuries. A bench trial was held on August 19, 2016. The court entered its judgment on the same date in favor of Ms. Rowell in the amount of $208, 137.14. Ms. Rowell filed a receipt and acknowledgment of payment after she received $1, 000.00 in partial payment from Mr. Killion.

         Respondent, Automobile Club Inter-Insurance Exchange (Auto Club), filed a post-judgment motion to intervene on September 7, 2016. The hearing on the motion was held on October 7, 2016. The trial court, via docket entry, granted the motion to intervene on October 14, 2016.

         The Auto Club then filed a motion to set aside the judgment on October 28, 2016. A hearing on the motion was held on December 16, 2016. The trial court granted the motion to set aside the judgment on January 3, 2017.

         Ms. Rowell filed her motion to denominate as a judgment the court's order granting the motion to set aside on January 10, 2017. On February 3, 2017, the trial court entered its judgment granting the motion to set aside. Ms. Rowell filed her notice of appeal on March 13, 2017.

         Legal Analysis

         In the first point, Ms. Rowell argues that the Auto Club should not have been allowed to intervene because the trial court lost jurisdiction and authority thirty days after the August 19, 2016, judgment was entered.

Intervention is permitted by Rule 52.12(a) as a matter of right or by Rule 52.12(b), which provides for intervention by permission of the court. A trial court's decision regarding intervention as a matter of right 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.

Johnson v. State, 366 S.W.3d 11, 20 (Mo. banc 2012). Three rules work together to govern interventions.[1] First, Rule 52.12, which provides:

(a) Intervention of Right. Upon timely application anyone shall be permitted to intervene in an action: (1) when a statute of this state confers an unconditional right to intervene or (2) when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction that is the subject of the action and the applicant is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the applicant's ability to protect that interest, unless the applicant's interest is adequately represented by existing parties.
(b) Permissive intervention. Upon timely application anyone may be permitted to intervene in an action: (1) when a statute of this state confers a conditional right to intervene; or (2) when an applicant's claim or defense and the main action have a question of law or fact in common; or (3) when the validity of a statute, regulation or constitutional provision of this state, or an ordinance or regulation of a governmental subdivision thereof, affecting the public interest, is drawn in question in any action to which the state or governmental subdivision thereof and the state or governmental subdivision or an officer, agency or employee thereof is not a party, the court may in its discretion notify the chief legal officer of the state or governmental subdivision may in the discretion of the court be permitted to intervene, upon proper application.
(c) Procedure. A person desiring to intervene shall serve a motion upon all parties affected thereby. The motion shall state the grounds therefor, and shall be accompanied by a pleading setting forth the claim or defense for which intervention is sought. The same procedure shall be ...

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