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Pearson v. Keystone Temporary Assignment Group, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division

September 17, 2019

Rolanda PEARSON, Appellant,
v.
KEYSTONE TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT GROUP, INC., and Division of Employment Security, Respondents.

Page 547

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 548

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 549

          Appeal from the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission

          Rolanda Pearson, Pro Se,  for appellant.

          Keystone Temporary Assignment, Pro Se, Sarah L. Crawford,  for respondent.

          OPINION

         Angela T. Quigless, J.

          The claimant, Rolanda Pearson, appeals from the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission finding her disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation benefits. Ms. Pearson¬ís employment with employer Keystone Temporary Assignment Group, Inc., ended in September of 2018, and she filed for unemployment. The deputy, then the Appeals Tribunal, and then ultimately the Commission all denied her claim. Adopting the decision of the Appeals Tribunal as its own, the Commission unanimously determined that Ms. Pearson was disqualified because she voluntarily quit work without good cause attributable to work or the employer. Ms. Pearson now appeals to this Court, seeking reversal of the Commission¬ís decision. Because Ms. Pearson failed to substantially comply with the rules of appellate procedure, we dismiss the appeal.

          Discussion

          Ms. Pearson appears on her own behalf, without the assistance of an attorney. She has the right to do so. Kramer v. Park-Et Restaurant, Inc., 226 S.W.3d 867, 869 (Mo. App. E.D. 2007). "We cannot and will not penalize [Ms. Pearson] for not utilizing the assistance of an attorney; but likewise, we cannot and will not lend [her] any assistance in prosecuting her appeal because she is not represented by counsel." Bishop v. Metro Restoration Servs., Inc., 209 S.W.3d 43, 45 (Mo. App. S.D. 2006). "This is not a matter of our personal preference, but rather the demands placed upon us by our oaths of office, our commitment to uphold the rule of law, and the very nature of the adversarial process, which requires fair, impartial and disinterested decision makers." Id. "We would be true to none of these principles if we applied the law in one manner to litigants represented by counsel and then in a different manner to litigants that are not represented by counsel." Id. Accordingly, pro se appellants such as Ms. Pearson are bound by the same rules as a party represented by an attorney. Kramer, 226 S.W.3d at 869. They must comply with the Supreme Court Rules, including Rule 84.04, which sets out the requirements for appellate briefs.

Page 550

Thornton v. City of Kirkwood, 161 S.W.3d 916, 919 (Mo. App. E.D. 2005). We do not grant pro se appellants preferential treatment regarding compliance with those rules. Id. This is not from lack of sympathy, but rather is necessitated by the requirement of judicial ...


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