Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
LINDA A. HOLDING, Appellant,
KANSAS CITY AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, Respondent.
from the Circuit Court of Jackson County The Honorable Kevin
D. Harrell, Judge
Before: Cynthia L. Martin, P.J., and Victor C. Howard and
Alok Ahuja, JJ.
Holding sued the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
("KCATA") in the Circuit Court of Jackson County.
She alleged that on three separate occasions when she was
traveling as a passenger on KCATA buses, she suffered
injuries as a result of the negligence of the bus drivers.
The case was tried, and a jury returned a verdict for KCATA.
The circuit court entered judgment accordingly. Holding
appeals. Because of the significant deficiencies in
Holding's briefing, and her failure to provide an
adequate record, we dismiss Holding's appeal.
requirements for appellate briefing are set forth in Rule
84.04. "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." Hiner v. Hiner, 573
S.W.3d 732, 734 (Mo. App. W.D. 2019) (citation and internal
quotation marks 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. (citation and internal quotation
marks omitted). Even though Holding appears pro se,
she "is subject to the same procedural rules as parties
represented by counsel, including rules specifying the
required contents of appellate briefs." Hoover v.
Hoover, No. WD81697, 2019 WL 1904915, at *1 (Mo. App.
W.D. April 30, 2019) (citation and internal quotation marks
brief fails to comply with Rule 84.04 in multiple significant
respects. First, her statement of facts does not comply with
Rule 84.04(c). "Rule 84.04(c) requires appellants to
include 'a fair and concise statement of the facts
relevant to the questions presented for determination without
argument.'" Interest of D.A.B., 570 S.W.3d
606, 613 (Mo. App. E.D. 2019) (citation omitted). "The
primary purpose of the statement of facts is to afford an
immediate, accurate, complete and unbiased understanding of
the facts of the case." Hiner, 573 S.W.3d at
735 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
Additionally, "all statements of facts shall have
specific page references to the relevant portion of the
record on appeal, i.e., legal file, transcript, or
exhibits." Id. (citation and internal quotation
eight-page statement of facts is not a fair and concise
statement of the facts relevant to the questions presented.
Instead, it is one-sided and argumentative, and the majority
of Holding's factual assertions are not supported by
citations to the record. Upon review of the few record
citations which do appear in Holding's factual
statement, they do not support the factual assertions to
which they are attached. Moreover, Holding's factual
statement does not clearly explain the procedural history of
the case; indeed, from her factual statement, it is unclear
whether the circuit court ruled against her on summary
judgment, or following a jury trial. "It is not the role
of an appellate court to serve as an advocate for a litigant,
and 'we have no duty to search the transcript or record
to discover the facts which substantiate a point on appeal.
That is the duty of the parties, not the function of an
appellate court.'" Midtown Home Improvements,
Inc. v. Taylor, No. ED106721, 2019 WL 1029609, at *2
(Mo. App. E.D. March 5, 2019) (citation omitted).
Holding's Point Relied On is deficient.
Where, as here, an appellate court is asked to review the
decision of a trial court, "each point shall (A)
[i]dentify the trial court ruling or action that the
appellant challenges; (B) [s]tate concisely the legal reasons
for the appellant's claim of reversible error; and (C)
[e]xplain in summary fashion why, in the context of the case,
those legal reasons support the claim of reversible
error." Rule 84.04(d)(1). "The point shall be in
substantially the following form: 'The trial court erred
in [identify the challenged ruling or action],
because [state the legal reasons for the claim of
reversible error], in that [explain why the legal
reasons, in the context of the case, support the claim of
Hiner, 573 S.W.3d at 735 (citation omitted;
alterations and emphasis in original).
Point Relied On fails to comply with Rule
84.04(d). Besides the fact that Holding's Point
Relied On contains at least four distinct claims of error,
and is thus multifarious, it is not substantially in the form
required by Rule 84.04(d)(1). The point does not
"[s]tate concisely the legal reasons for the . . . claim
of reversible error" or "[e]xplain . . . why, in
the context of the case, those legal reasons support the
claim or reversible error." Rule 84.04(d)(1). The
deficiencies in Holding's Point Relied On are compounded
by the fact that she included at least eight different,
additional claims of error in the Point Relied On reproduced
in her brief's Table of Contents, and in the Standard of
Review section of her brief. During oral argument, Holding
identified additional alleged errors beyond those mentioned
in her brief.
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." Hiner, 573 S.W.3d at 735-36 (citation
and internal quotation marks 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