Aldridge v. Hoskin, SD36999

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtJACK A. L. GOODMAN, J.
PartiesGEORGE F. ALDRIDGE, JR., Appellant, v. BRIAN HOSKIN, et al., Respondents.
Decision Date10 May 2022
Docket NumberSD36999

GEORGE F. ALDRIDGE, JR., Appellant,
v.

BRIAN HOSKIN, et al., Respondents.

No. SD36999

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division

May 10, 2022


APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF MISSISSIPPI COUNTY Honorable David A. Dolan, Judge.

OPINION

JACK A. L. GOODMAN, J.

AFFIRMED

George Aldridge, Jr., is an inmate in the Missouri Department of Corrections ("DOC"). He sued six DOC corrections officers ("Respondents") for an alleged failure to return a radio/cassette player and personal photos to him after his release from administrative segregation. The trial court entered judgment against Aldridge on his pleadings, finding that his claims failed as a matter of law and were time-barred by § 516.145.[1] We affirm.

1

Invocation of a statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that ordinarily must be raised in a responsive pleading and proven with evidence. Brown v. Pint, 632 S.W.3d 453, 456 (Mo.App. 2021) (citing Missouri Supreme Court Rule 55.08 (2020)). If the petition clearly shows that a cause of action is barred by the statute of limitations, it is appropriate to sustain a motion to dismiss on that ground, id., or to sustain a motion for judgment on the pleadings on that ground. Holmes v. Missouri Bd. of Prob. & Parole, 640 S.W.3d 759 (Mo.App. 2021). "The correct application of the statute of limitations is a question of law we review de novo." Id. at 761.

"Judgment on the pleadings is only appropriate when the question before the court is strictly one of law." Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church v. St. Louis Alarm Monitoring Co., Inc., 306 S.W.3d 185, 190 (Mo.App. 2010). "The party that moves for judgment on the pleadings admits, for purposes of the motion, the truth of all well-pleaded facts in the opposing party's pleadings." Id. at 191.

Section 516.145 provides a one-year statute of limitations for "all actions brought by an offender . . . against the department of corrections or any entity or division thereof, or any employee or former employee for an act in an official capacity, or by the omission of an official duty." "[A] cause of action shall be deemed to accrue 'when the damage resulting therefrom is sustained and is capable of ascertainment.'" Cooper v. Minor, 16 S.W.3d 578, 581 (Mo. banc 2000) (quoting from § 516.100).

Appellant pleaded that he was entitled to possession of the radio/cassette player on November 3, 2017, and to possession of the photographs on February 27, 2018. He presents no argument that the alleged damages were not capable of ascertainment as of those dates. Aldridge filed administrative grievances, but he did not file this action until

2

March 14, 2019, more than a year after his alleged damages were capable of ascertainment.

Aldridge argues § 516.145 is "merely directory." Missouri courts have not construed this statute so narrowly or with such disfavor. "The word 'all' prefacing the word 'actions' indicates that the legislature did not intend for there to be any type of claim that an offender could bring that would be an exception to the one-year time limit in §...

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