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Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District Digest: Nov. 21, 2022

Staff Report//November 21, 2022//

Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District Digest: Nov. 21, 2022

Staff Report//November 21, 2022//

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Administrative

Driver’s License Suspension

Support Arrears

Petitioner appealed the dismissal of his petition to review an order vacating a decision of a hearing officer that found that petitioner’s driver’s license was not subject to suspension. The hearing officer concluded that respondent had failed to prove that petitioner had child and spousal support arrearages above the statutory threshold.

Where the hearing officer lacked the authority to vacate the prior decision upon the division’s request, the order was void ab initio and thus the trial court should have denied respondent’s motion to dismiss petitioner’s action.

Judgment is reversed and remanded.

Covert v. Director, Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division (MLW No. 79105/Case No. ED109952 – 11 pages) (Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, Dowd, J.) Appealed from circuit court, Lincoln County, Beck, J. (Lee R. Elliott, for appellant) (John J. Lynch, Jr., for respondent)

https://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=190434

 

Criminal Law

Post-Conviction Relief

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Movant appealed the denial of his motion for post-conviction relief following a conviction for assault, armed criminal action, and unlawful possession of a firearm. Movant alleged that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate movant’s mother and present her as an alibi witness.

Where trial counsel’s investigation did not fall below the standard of customary skill and diligence and movant would not have received a different outcome but for counsel’s actions, and where movant failed to show that appellate counsel’s decisions did not represent sound appellate strategy, his ineffective assistance of counsel claims failed.

Judgment is affirmed.

Wooten v. State (MLW No. 79102/Case No. ED110150 – 13 pages) (Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, Page, J.) Appealed from circuit court, St. Louis County, Vincent, J. Kristina S. Olson, for appellant) (Gregory L. Barnes, for respondent)

https://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=190437

 

 

Post-Conviction Relief

Ineffective Assistance of Plea Counsel

Movant appealed the denial of his motion for post-conviction relief alleging ineffective assistance of plea counsel.

Where movant’s three-year period of absconding from justice after failing to appear for sentencing prejudiced the criminal justice system, the court applied the escape rule to deny movant’s appeal.

Appeal is dismissed.

Robinson v. State (MLW No. 79103/Case No. ED110094 – 5 pages) (Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, Clayton, J.) Appealed from circuit court, City of St. Louis, Whyte, J. (Lisa M. Stroup, for appellant) (Eric S. Schmitt and Karen L. Kramer, for respondent)

https://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=190436

 

Domestic Relations

Grandparent Visitation

Award of Legal Costs

Father appealed the denial of his motion for legal fees from grandmother, who filed a grandparent visitation action. Father argued that the trial court erred in concluding that it lacked statutory authority to award legal fees and abused its discretion in denying his motion.

Although the trial court had statutory authority to award fees in its discretion, the record demonstrated that father’s fee request was excessive and that grandmother lacked the financial resources to pay fees, and therefore trial court correctly exercised its discretion to deny father’s motion.

Judgment is affirmed.

C.T. v. J.L.L. (MLW No. 79104/Case No. ED110039 – 18 pages) (Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, Stevens, J.) Appealed from circuit court, Washington County, Hyde, J. (Lawrence G. Gillespie for appellant) (Jay R. Anielak for respondent)

https://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=190435

 

Insurance

Auto Insurance

UIM Household Exclusion

Plaintiff appealed the grant of summary judgment to defendant insurer. Plaintiff was injured as a passenger in a single-vehicle accident in which the driver, plaintiff’s husband, was killed. She was insured by a policy issued by defendant that provided $500,000 in liability coverage and $500,000 in UIM coverage. Plaintiff sought reimbursement under both coverages. The district court granted summary judgment for defendant, ruling that the policy’s household exclusion reduced coverage to $25,000 for both liability and UIM coverage.

Where state law prohibited stacking of UM and UIM coverage under policies such as plaintiff’s and the policy unambiguously explained that the UIM coverage was subject to the household exclusion, the trial court properly granted summary judgment for defendant.

Judgment is affirmed.

Mendelson v. McLaughlin (MLW No. 79101/Case No. ED110315 – 10 pages) (Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, Dowd, J.) Appealed from circuit court, St. Louis County, Corrigan, J. (David C. Knieriem for appellant) (David T. Ahlheim and Marie F. Weisenberger for respondent)

https://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=190438

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