Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
RONALD K. BARKER, PC, Appellant,
DOUGLAS B. WALKENHORST, ET AL., Respondents.
from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri Honorable
Joel P. Fahnestock, Judge
Before: Thomas H. Newton, P.J., Victor C. Howard, and Karen
King Mitchell, JJ.
H. Newton, Presiding Judge.
Barker, P.C. (hereinafter Law Firm) appeals a Jackson County
Circuit Court judgment denying its motion to amend the
judgment nunc pro tunc and requested pre-judgment
interest on Counts V and IX of its quantum meruit
claims. According to the Law Firm, the pre-judgment interest
should be calculated at a rate of nine percent beginning
April 14, 2011, for Count V and May 14, 2011, for Count IX.
We reverse and remand for further proceedings.
Firm provided legal services to Mr. Douglas B. Walkenhorst
and Ms. Kathy L. Walkenhorst from approximately June 3, 2010,
to January 7, 2012. Mr. Ronald Barker (sole practitioner of
Law Firm) was disbarred effective February 15, 2012. (See
In re Ronald K. Barker, SC92044). On July 10, 2015, Law
Firm filed its petition for damages against the Walkenhorsts
for breach of contract (Counts I & II), an action on open
account (Count III), an action on an account stated (Count
IV), and an action in quantum meruit (Count V),
along with Mr. Barker's affidavit. On September 15, 2015,
the Law Firm filed an amended petition adding K and D
Transportation, LLC as a defendant and alleging breach of
contract, an action on open account, an action on an account
stated, and an action in quantum meruit. All the
defendants were served with the amended petition and Mr.
Barker's affidavit on October 5, 2015.
did not timely file answers but did request a jury trial, and
the case was transferred to the Circuit Court Division on
January 6, 2016, where it was scheduled for a jury trial on
December 13, 2016.
November 2016, the Law Firm filed a motion for judgment on
the pleadings and asserted that there were no facts for the
jury to determine because the defendants had failed to file
counter-affidavits when given leave to file an answer to the
amended petition and Mr. Barker's affidavit. In December
2016, the defendants filed a motion in opposition to the
motion for judgment on the pleadings and claimed, among other
things, that the Law Firm's motion was untimely as it was
filed more than six months after the cutoff in the
court's scheduling order. On December 22, 2016, the court
entered judgment in favor of the Law Firm on Counts V and IX,
finding that the affidavit submitted by the Law Firm under
section RSMo 490.525 proved that the defendants had requested
the services of the Law Firm, that the services were of
reasonable value, and that the defendants had refused to pay
for those services after receiving demands from the Law
Firm. The Walkenhorsts were ordered to pay the
Law Firm $15, 851.00 and K and D Transportation, LLC was
ordered to pay $578.59 with interest accruing at nine percent
from the date of the judgment.
January 10, 2017, the Law Firm filed a motion to amend the
judgment nunc pro tunc and requested an award of
pre-judgment interest on both quantum meruit claims.
On January 20, 2017, the Defendants filed suggestions in
opposition of the motion and filed a notice of appeal to this
court (See Barker v. Walkenhorst, 533 S.W.3d 792
(Mo. App. W.D. 2017). The trial court failed to rule on the
motion to amend judgment within the 90 days (by April 11,
2017) prescribed by Rule 78.06. Despite no longer having
jurisdiction, the trial court officially denied the motion to
amend judgment on April 20, 2017. The Law Firm
sole point on appeal, the Law Firm argues that the trial
court erred in failing to award pre-judgment interest on its
liquidated quantum meruit claims. A denial of a
motion to amend judgment is reviewed for abuse of discretion.
Palmer v. Union Pacific R.R Co., 311 S.W.3d 843, 851
(Mo. App. E.D. 2010). "A circuit court abuses its
discretion when its ruling shocks the sense of justice, shows
lack of consideration, and is obviously against the logic of
the circumstances." Heckadon v. CFS Enters.,
Inc., 400 S.W.3d 372, 380 (Mo. App. W.D. 2013).
prevail on a claim for quantum meruit, the Law Firm
must demonstrate: "(1) that [it] provided the
[Defendants] services at the [Defendants'] request or
with their acquiescence; (2) the services [provided] were of
a certain and reasonable value; and (3) the [Defendants]
refused to pay for such services after demand" by the
Law firm. Moran v. Hubbartt, 178 S.W.3d 604, 609
(Mo. App. W.D. 2005) (citation omitted). The trial court
analyzed the Law Firm's petition and affidavit and
determined that all of the elements were met for both
quantum meruit claims.
interest is awarded under section 408.020 "for all
moneys after they become due and payable . . . and demand of
payment is made." Jablonski v. Barton Mut. Ins.
Co., 291 S.W.3d 345, 350 (Mo. App. W.D. 2009). The
interest will be awarded after three requirements have been
satisfied: "(1) the expenses must be due; (2) the claim
must be liquidated or the amount of the claim reasonably
ascertainable; and (3) the obligee must make a demand on the
obligor for the amount due." Id. (citations
the trial court concluded that the following facts were not
in dispute: (1) "legal services were rendered and
expenses [were] incurred on behalf of Defendants"; (2)
"the services provided were necessary, and the amounts
charged were necessary, and the amounts charged were
reasonable as to the services referenced in Count V and Count
IX (the quantum meruit claims)"; and (3)
"[t]he exhibits attached to the affidavit establish[ed]
that Defendants failed to pay for the provided services after
Plaintiff demanded payment." (emphasis added).
According to the order granting ...