Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
MAE E. LESLIE, Appellant,
EDWARD WHITE, Respondent.
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI THE
HONORABLE JAMES F. KANATZAR, JUDGE
Cynthia L. Martin, Presiding Judge, Victor C. Howard, Judge
and Thomas H. Newton, Judge
C. HOWARD, JUDGE
Leslie appeals the judgment of the Jackson County Circuit
Court in favor of Edward White. Leslie had requested a trial
de novo after not prevailing in a small claims action. Due to
substantial deficiencies in Leslie's appellate brief,
which prevent us from determining what her actual claims of
trial error are, we dismiss her appeal.
review of the transcript in this case indicates that Leslie
sued White alleging he defrauded her. They were the only two
witnesses at trial. Leslie had a carport filled with items.
She maintained that she hired White to have a garage sale for
her, sell the items, and give her the profits. White
maintained that Leslie was in trouble with the city for
having all the items in her carport in her yard and that she
paid him to take all of the items to the dump. The trial
court found in favor of White.
is a pro se appellant. "We hold pro se
appellants to the same procedural rules as attorneys; we do
not grant them preferential treatment regarding compliance
with those rules." Wallace v. Frazier, 546
S.W.3d 624, 626 (Mo. App. W.D. 2018). "Compliance with
Rule 84.04 briefing requirements is mandatory in order to
ensure that appellate courts do not become advocates by
speculating on facts and on arguments that have not been
made." Id. (internal quotation omitted).
"An appellant's failure to substantially comply with
Rule 84.04 preserves nothing for our review and constitutes
grounds for dismissal of the appeal." Id.
(internal quotation omitted). "This is particularly true
where, as here, we cannot competently rule on the merits of
[the appellant's] argument without first reconstructing
the facts ... and then refining and supplementing [her]
points and legal argument." Id. (internal
first brief was struck for failure to comply with Rule 84.04,
and she was given an opportunity to file an amended brief.
Leslie's amended brief also fails to comply with Rule
84.04. The brief does not contain a table of contents, a
statement pertaining to jurisdiction, a statement of facts,
points relied on, an argument, or a conclusion. See Rule
84.04(a)-(e). Leslie's brief appears to be citations to
various lines in the transcript with her notes written beside
them. Her brief does not convey what the action below was
about or how the trial court allegedly erred. This court only
understood the nature of the action below from reading the
we understand that the trial court did not rule the way
Leslie wanted, we have no idea what Leslie thinks it did
wrong. Her brief includes the following statements:
Mr. White said his wife; A lie; It was his mother.
He came on to me an elderly lady. I did not come on to him.
He took more and more = Raytown City Hall does not know him;
They all know me.
Our American Justice system is in my opinion … the
saddest in the world. Because it is supposed to be the best.
Our laws are based on the Bible. Why have to give our
address? They are in the file.
Leslie does not cite any legal authorities in her brief. Nor
does she state what remedy she is looking for from this
primary purpose of the statement of facts is to afford an
immediate, accurate, complete and unbiased understanding of
the facts of the case." Wallace, 546 S.W.3d at
626 (internal quotation omitted). "The purpose of the
points relied on is to give notice to the opposing party of
the precise matters which must be contended with and to
inform the court of the issues presented for review."
Id. at 627. "Compliance with Rule 84.04
briefing requirements is mandatory in order to ensure that
appellate courts do not become advocates by speculating on
facts and on arguments that have not been made."
Id. (internal quotation omitted). "Deficient
points relied on force the appellate court to search the
argument portion of the brief or the record itself to
determine and clarify the appellant's assertions, thereby
wasting judicial resources, and, worse yet, creating the
danger that the appellate court will interpret the
appellant's contention differently than the appellant
intended or his opponent understood." Id. ...