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Hardison v. McCracken

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division

June 6, 2019

LOUIS A. HARDISON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
DAVID MCCRACKEN, BRADLEY FIENEN, and ROBERT VAUGHAN, Defendants-Respondents.

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF NEWTON COUNTY Honorable Kevin L. Selby

          DON E. BURRELL, P.J.

         Louis A. Hardison ("Appellant") is representing himself in these consolidated appeals in which he is attempting to appeal the trial court's denial of Appellant's motion for summary judgment and the trial court's judgments in favor of state and county officials on their motions for judgment on the pleadings. Because Appellant's significant briefing deficiencies materially impede impartial review, we must dismiss his appeals.

         Background

         In 2017, Appellant sued David McCracken, Bradley Fienen, and Robert Vaughan (collectively, "Respondents")[1] in Newton County Circuit Court for alleged violations of Missouri's Criminal Asset Forfeiture Act ("CAFA"), unjust enrichment, and money had and received. Appellant's allegations stemmed from an incident that occurred in November 2013, when Neosho police -- in response to a disturbance call at Appellant's home -- arrested Appellant and seized firearms he had in his possession.

         Appellant was subsequently convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and he was sentenced by a federal court to serve 36 months in the United States Bureau of Prisons. The weapons seized from Appellant's home were then forfeited pursuant to a federal order.

         During the course of his civil suits against Respondents, Appellant filed a "Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum of Law In Support" ("motion for summary judgment"), which the trial court denied. That same day, respondents Fienen and McCracken filed their "MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS" ("motion for judgment on the pleadings") that claimed Appellant's causes of action were not supported by the averments of his petition and were time-barred by a three-year statute of limitation. Soon thereafter, Respondent Vaughan also filed a "Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and Suggestions in Support" asserting that Appellant's amended petition failed to state a claim.

         In a June 22, 2018 "ORDER FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS[, ]" the trial court granted Respondents' motions for judgment on the pleadings and accordingly entered judgments in their favor.

         Analysis

         Point 1

         Appellant's first point claims "[t]he trial court erred in not granting Appellant [sic] Motion for Summary Judgment." We need not discuss the fatal briefing deficiencies related to this claim as "[t]he denial of a motion for summary judgment is not an appealable order because it is not final." Keystone Mut. Ins. Co. v. Kuntz, 507 S.W.3d 162, 166 (Mo. App. S.D. 2016). An exception to this rule exists "where the merits of the motion for summary judgment are intertwined with the propriety of an appealable order granting summary judgment to another party." Hazelwood Logistics Ctr., LLC v. Illinois Union Ins. Co., 535 S.W.3d 802, 804 (Mo. App. E.D. 2017) (quoting Sauvain v. Acceptance Indem. Ins. Co., 339 S.W.3d 555, 568 (Mo. App. W.D. 2011)). Appellant makes no claim that that exception is applicable here. The denial of Appellant's motion for summary judgment cannot be reviewed.

         Points 2 through 5

         The remainder of Appellant's brief is "so replete with Rule 84.04[[2] violations that we are unable to review [his] appeal." Hometown Bank, N.A. v. Yer Yang, 432 S.W.3d 806, 807 (Mo. App. S.D. 2014). "Failure to comply with the briefing requirements under Rule 84.04 preserves nothing for appellate review." Carden v. Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Mgmt. Ass'n, 258 S.W.3d 547, 554 (Mo. App. S.D. 2008).

"We are mindful of the problems that a pro se litigant faces; however, 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." Carlisle v. Rainbow Connection, Inc., 300 S.W.3d 583, 584-85 (Mo. App. E.D. 2009). "Pro se appellants are held to the same standards as attorneys and must comply with Supreme Court rules, including Rule 84.04, which ...

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