Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division
DR. PATT MCGUIRE, Appellant,
JERRY EDWARDS, SCOTT BRIETE, ST. LOUIS COUNTY, STATE OF MISSOURI, OFFICE OF THE STATE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, and GENEVIEVE FRANK, Respondents.
from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County Honorable Joseph
L. Walsh III
S. ODENWALD, PRESIDING JUDGE
Patt McGuire ("Dr. McGuire") appeals from the
circuit court's dismissal of her amended petition
regarding a clerical error on Case.net for failure to state a
claim. We dismiss Dr. McGuire's appeal for failure to
comply with the mandatory appellate briefing standards of
Rule 84.04. Even had Dr. McGuire's brief complied
with the requirements of Rule 84.04, her amended petition
creates no cognizable legal cause of action and is thus
and Procedural History
McGuire filed an employment discrimination claim against her
former employer. During the course of her suit, Dr. McGuire
noticed when she looked at Case.net online that the system
had removed two of the defendants on her case ("the
Change"). Specifically, after the Change, Case.net
showed that two parties had an "end date" of
November 21, 2017 and showed the "party end reason"
as "Party Released/Ended."
McGuire sought to speak about the Change with the judge
assigned to her employment discrimination case. The
judge's clerk ("Clerk") attempted to answer Dr.
McGuire's questions regarding the Change on Case.net.
Clerk stated that she was unfamiliar with the Change and
asked Dr. McGuire to wait while Clerk spoke with the judge.
After a few minutes, Clerk returned to Dr. McGuire and told
her "the judge said he did not do that." Dr.
McGuire requested that Clerk ask a manager how and why the
Change appeared on Case.net. Clerk sent Dr. McGuire to the
Circuit Clerk's Office. Once there, Dr. McGuire insisted
on speaking with the lead manager. However, he was
unavailable at the time.
following day, Dr. McGuire returned to the Circuit
Clerk's Office. Jerry Edwards ("Edwards"), the
director of the Circuit Clerk's Office, assisted Dr.
McGuire. Edwards reviewed Case.net and corrected the Change
to reflect that no party had been formally dismissed from Dr.
McGuire's employment discrimination case. Dr. McGuire
asked how the Change occurred and who changed the
information, among other questions. Edwards was unable to
answer and referred Dr. McGuire to the legal department. The
Change was viewable on Case.net for a total of six days.
McGuire then filed a claim against Edwards and St. Louis
County for tampering, asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Dr. McGuire sought $35, 000, 000 in compensatory
damages and another $35, 000, 000 in punitive damages.
Edwards removed the case to the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Missouri. McGuire v.
Edwards, No. 4:18-CV-71 CAS, 2018 WL 783064 (E.D. Mo.
Feb. 8, 2018). The United States District Court remanded the
case to St. Louis County because even though Dr. McGuire
asserted a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, her
"claims [were] so completely devoid of merit as to not
involve a federal controversy." Id. After the
case was remanded to St. Louis County, Dr. McGuire filed an
amended petition, asserting claims against Edwards, Scott
Briete-Edwards's immediate supervisor- the State of
Missouri, St. Louis County, and the Office of the State Court
Administrator (collectively, "Respondents").
Respondents moved to dismiss Dr. McGuire's petition for
failure to state a claim. The circuit court granted
Respondents' motion and dismissed Dr. McGuire's
petition with prejudice. Dr. McGuire now appeals.
review a trial court's grant of a motion to dismiss de
novo. Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist. v. City of
Bellefontaine Neighbors, 476 S.W.3d 913, 915 (Mo. banc
2016) (quoting Lynch v. Lynch, 260 S.W.3d
834, 836 (Mo. banc 2008)). We "treat the facts
contained in the petition as true and in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff." Id. Further,
"[i]f the petition sets forth any set of facts that, if
proven, would entitle the plaintiff to relief, then the
petition states a claim." Id.
A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim tests the
adequacy of a plaintiff's petition. When considering
whether a petition fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted, this Court must accept all properly pleaded
facts as true, giving the pleadings their broadest
intendment, and construe all allegations favorably to the
pleader. The Court reviews the petition to see if the facts
alleged, given their broadest intendment, meet the elements
of a cause of action that is recognized or that might be
Peters v. Wady Indus., 489 S.W.3d 784, 789 (Mo. banc
2016) (internal quotations omitted).
Dr. McGuire Submitted an Insufficient Appellate Brief
under Rule 84.04.
McGuire is a pro se appellant. We hold pro se appellants to
the same standards as attorneys, including considerations for
compliance with Supreme Court of Missouri Rules. See
Carlisle v. Rainbow Connection, Inc., 300 S.W.3d 583,
584 (Mo. App. E.D. 2009). Although "[w]e are mindful of
the problems that a pro se litigant faces[, ] . . . judicial
impartiality, judicial economy, and fairness to all parties
necessitate that we do not grant a pro se appellant
preferential treatment with regard to complying with the
rules of appellate procedure." Id. at 584-85;
Midtown Home Improvements, Inc. v. Taylor, No.
ED106721, 2019 WL 1029609, at *2 (Mo. App. E.D. Mar. 5,
2019). Under the clear mandate of Rule 84.04, "[w]hile
we prefer, whenever possible, to dispose of a case on the
merits, we must dismiss the appeal if the deficiencies in the
brief are such that no claims are preserved for appellate
review." Taylor, 2019 WL 1029609, at *5 (citing
Hamilton v. Archer, 545 S.W.3d 377, 379 (Mo. ...