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Wilson v. City of St. Louis

Supreme Court of Missouri

January 14, 2020

JAMES J. WILSON, et al., Respondents,
v.
CITY OF ST. LOUIS, et al., Respondents, and TISHAURA O. JONES, Appellant. CITY OF ST. LOUIS, Respondent,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Appellant.

          APPEALS FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS The Honorable Michael F. Stelzer, Judge

          PAUL C. WILSON, JUDGE.

         Before addressing the merits of these appeals, this Court has a duty to determine whether it has jurisdiction. First Nat'l Bank of Dieterich v. Pointe Royale Prop. Owners' Ass'n, Inc., 515 S.W.3d 219, 221 (Mo. banc 2017). For this Court to have jurisdiction, the judgment entered by the circuit court and appealed by the parties must have been a "final judgment" as that phrase is used in section 512.020(5).[1] Because the judgments appealed from in this case are neither "final judgments" in the sense that they resolve all claims against all parties, nor "final judgments" in the sense that they are eligible for certification as "final" under Rule 74.01(b) because they dispose of a "judicial unit" of claims, they are not "final judgments" as required under section 512.020(5). Accordingly, this Court has no choice but to dismiss these appeals.

         Background

         In January 2017, James Wilson and Charles Lane (collectively, "Plaintiffs"), filed a six-count petition against the city of St. Louis ("the City"), the state of Missouri, the Treasurer of the City of St. Louis, Tishaura Jones ("Treasurer Jones"), and four municipal officers[2] in the city of St. Louis (collectively, "Defendants"). Two counts from Plaintiffs' original petition were dismissed.[3] The remaining counts are set forth below.

         Count I seeks a judgment declaring sections 82.485 and 82.487 (hereinafter, "the parking statutes") unconstitutional in violation of article VI, section 22 of the Missouri Constitution as well as an injunction prohibiting Defendants from taking action pursuant to those statutes. Count II seeks a judgment declaring Treasurer Jones violated a city ordinance and article II, section 1 of the Missouri Constitution (which provides only the legislature has the power to set a range of punishment) by changing the schedule of parking fines and penalties without first submitting a budget to the board of aldermen of the city of St. Louis. Count IV seeks a judgment declaring Treasurer Jones violated city ordinance 64102 (which regulates the solicitation and award of contracts for professional services) by entering into a contract with an underwriting firm that was not in compliance with that ordinance. Count VI seeks a judgment declaring city ordinances 69809 and 70057[4] invalid because they are inconsistent with the responsibilities of the city office of treasurer (as set forth in Charter article XV, section 24), the county office of treasurer (as set forth in section 54.010), the parking statutes, and article VI, sections 23 and 25 of the Missouri Constitution (which prohibit local governmental bodies from granting public money to private persons).

         After the suit commenced, Jeffery Boyd ("Intervenor") filed a motion to intervene, which the circuit court sustained. Counts I through IV of Intervenor's petition are substantially the same as Counts I though IV of Plaintiffs' original petition. Count V in Intervenor's petition seeks a judgment declaring section 479.011 and city ordinance 67513 (which, collectively, authorize a system of extrajudicial adjudication of parking ordinance violations in the city of St. Louis) unconstitutional in violation of article V, section 23 of the Missouri Constitution (which provides the municipal divisions of circuit courts have exclusive original jurisdiction over municipal ordinance violations).

         After Intervenor was granted intervention and his petition was filed, the City asserted a cross-claim against its co-defendant, the state. The City's cross-claim sought a judgment declaring the parking statutes are unconstitutional or otherwise invalid and, therefore, the city ordinances govern the parking commission in St. Louis. On April 5, 2018, the circuit court sustained the City's motion for summary judgment on this cross-claim (hereinafter, the "April 5 Order").[5]

         Shortly thereafter, Plaintiffs and Intervenor filed a joint motion for partial summary judgment on Count I in each of their respective petitions. These counts assert many of the same arguments as the City asserted in its cross-claim, including the argument on which the circuit court entered judgment for the City in the April 5 Order. The circuit court granted Plaintiffs' and Intervenor's joint motion on October 25, 2018, in two separate orders labeled "judgments." In the first (hereinafter, the "October 25 Declaratory Order"), the circuit court followed its April 5 Order and declared that the parking statutes are unconstitutional and cannot be severed. In the second (hereinafter, the "October 25 Injunctive Order"), the circuit court granted the permanent injunctive relief sought in Count I of both Plaintiffs' and Intervenor's respective petitions.

         The circuit court certified the October 25 Injunctive Order for immediate appeal pursuant to Rule 74.01(b). Because the October 25 Injunctive Order incorporated by express reference the October 25 Declaratory Order and the April 5 Order, this certification under Rule 74.01(b) presumably was meant to apply to those as well. To remove any doubt, the City later moved to have the October 25 Declaratory Order and the April 5 Order separately certified under Rule 74.01(b), and the circuit court sustained that motion on January 2, 2019.

         To review, Count I of the City's cross-claim was resolved in the April 5 Order and the state now appeals from that judgment. Count I in each of Plaintiffs' and Intervenor's respective petitions was not resolved completely by the October 25 Declaratory Order or the October 25 Injunctive Order but was disposed of completely by the combined effect of those two orders. More precisely, as explained more fully below, because the former incorporates the latter by express reference, the October 25 Injunctive Order is the only true "judgment" resolving completely Count I in Plaintiffs' petition or Count I in Intervenor's petition. The state appeals from the October 25 Injunctive Order (which fully resolves Count I in Plaintiffs' and Intervenor's respective petitions), but Treasurer Jones appeals only from the October 25 Declaratory Order (which does not fully resolve any claim in any petition). Meanwhile, Plaintiffs' Count II, Count IV, and Count VI and Intervenor's Count II, Count IV, and Count V remain pending.

         Analysis

         "The right to appeal is purely statutory and, where a statute does not give a right to appeal, no right exists." First Nat'l Bank of Dieterich, 515 S.W.3d at 221 (quotation marks omitted). Although many statutes govern "the right to appeal, the only statute even potentially applicable to the present case is section 512.020(5)," which provides that "final judgments" are appealable. Id.

         "[A] judgment is a legally enforceable judicial order that fully resolves at least one claim in a lawsuit and establishes all the rights and liabilities of the parties with respect to that claim." State ex rel. Henderson v. Asel, 566 S.W.3d 596, 598 (Mo. banc 2019).[6] "If a judgment resolves all claims by and against all parties, or it resolves the last such claim and some (but not all) claims have been resolved previously, it is commonly referred to as a 'final judgment.'" Id. (footnote omitted). See also Ndegwa v. KSSO, LLC, 371 S.W.3d 798, 801 (Mo. banc 2012) ("A final judgment resolves all issues in a case, leaving nothing for future determination.") (quotation marks omitted). Because Plaintiffs and Intervenor each have several claims still pending in the circuit court, the judgments in this case are not final in this sense.

         A. Certification ...


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