FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COLE COUNTY, MISSOURI THE HONORABLE
PATRICIA S. JOYCE, JUDGE.
Writ Division: Victor C. Howard, Presiding Judge, Gary D.
Witt, Judge and Anthony Rex Gabbert, Judge.
C. HOWARD JUDGE.
Aaron Malin, petitions this court for a writ of mandamus
directing Respondent, the Honorable Patricia Joyce, to enter
a judgment in Malin's case against the Missouri
Association of Community Task Forces. This court has the
authority to issue original remedial writs pursuant to
article V, section 4.1 of the Missouri Constitution. The
preliminary writ of mandamus is now made permanent, and
Respondent is directed to enter a final appealable judgment.
January 2018, Aaron Malin filed suit against the Missouri
Association of Community Task Forces (d/b/a/ ACT Missouri) in
the Cole County Circuit Court. In April 2018, ACT Missouri
filed a motion for summary judgment. In May 2018, Malin filed
a cross motion for summary judgment. In August 2018, the
parties appeared before the trial court for argument on the
pending cross motions for summary judgment.
August 30, 2018, the trial court entered an order granting
ACT Missouri's motion for summary judgment. The order was
handwritten by the trial court judge on a form titled
"CASE REVIEW DOCKET ENTRY." The handwritten text
states: "Cause considered. Court finds for the
defendant. [M]otion for summary judgment is granted and
plaintiff's motion for summary is denied. Clerk is to
forward copy to attorneys of record." It is signed by
the trial judge. The docket entry on case.net states:
"Order: Cause considered. Court finds for the defendant
and defendants Motion for summary judgment is granted.
Plaintiff[']s motion for summary is denied. Clerk to
forward copy to attorneys of record. PSJ/rlo." After the
August 30, 2018 docket text order was entered and until a
docket entry was changed in January 3, 2019, the case
remained on case.net as "Not Disposed."
December 18, 2018, Malin's counsel emailed the circuit
court and opposing counsel in an attempt to obtain a final,
appealable judgment. Opposing counsel responded that she
believed the August 30, 2018 docket entry was a final,
appealable judgment. Both parties' positions were
forwarded to the trial judge. On January 2, 2019, the trial
court changed the entry on case.net from "Not
Disposed" to "Tried by Court - Civil."
filed a motion for leave to appeal by special order pursuant
to Rule 81.07 with this court on January 11, 2019. He
attached a copy of the August 30, 2018 order to the motion.
This court sent a letter to Malin, stating that a copy of the
judgment is necessary to properly consider the
filed a writ of mandamus with this court asking for the trial
judge to be ordered to enter a final appealable judgment. A
preliminary writ was issued on April 4, 2019, ordering the
trial judge to enter a final, appealable judgment or show
cause on or before April 11, 2019. The trial judge filed an
answer with this court maintaining that final judgment had
already been entered.
writ of mandamus may issue to compel the performance of a
ministerial duty that one charged with the duty has refused
to perform." Riley v. City Adm'r of City of
Liberty, 552 S.W.3d 764, 766 (Mo. App. W.D. 2018)
(internal quotation omitted). "For a court to issue a
writ of mandamus, there must be an existing, clear,
unconditional legal right in relator, and a corresponding
present, imperative, unconditional duty upon the fact of
respondent, and a default by respondent therein."
Id. (internal quotation omitted). "Such a writ
is to be used only as a last resort, in those cases in which
no adequate ...