Campbell v. Woodland Lakes Trusteeship, Inc., No. ED 107749

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtLisa P. Page, Judge
Citation591 S.W.3d 511
Docket NumberNo. ED 107749
Decision Date05 November 2019
Parties Dave CAMPBELL and Catrenia Dawn Campbell, Appellants, v. WOODLAND LAKES TRUSTEESHIP, INC., Respondent.

591 S.W.3d 511

Dave CAMPBELL and Catrenia Dawn Campbell, Appellants,
v.
WOODLAND LAKES TRUSTEESHIP, INC., Respondent.

No. ED 107749

Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, DIVISION TWO.

Filed: November 5, 2019
Application for Transfer Denied February 4, 2020


Appellants Acting Pro Se.

Steven P. Kuenzel, James W. McGettigan, Jr., Eckelkamp Kuenzel LLP, 200 West Main Street, P.O. Box 228, Washington, MO 63090, for respondent.

OPINION

Lisa P. Page, Judge

Dave Campbell and Catrenia Dawn Campbell (the "Campbells") appeal the trial court’s judgment of dismissal of their second amended petition with prejudice. The Campbells raise five points on appeal. However, their brief substantially fails to comply with the mandatory requirements of Missouri Supreme Court Rule 84.04 ;1 therefore, it preserves nothing for our review. We dismiss this appeal.

DISCUSSION

The Campbells appeal pro se. Rule 84.04 sets forth the mandatory briefing requirements for all appellants. Compliance is necessary "to ensure that appellate courts do not become advocates by speculating on facts and on arguments that have not been made." Callahan v. Precythe , 577 S.W.3d 159, 161 (Mo. App. W.D. 2019). Judicial impartiality, judicial economy, and fairness to all parties necessitates that we do not grant preferential treatment to pro se litigants who are held to the same standard as attorneys when they elect to represent themselves. A.C.C. v. S.B. , 568 S.W.3d 895, 896 (Mo. App. E.D. 2019). While our court has the discretion to review non-compliant briefs ex gratia , we must dismiss the appeal if the deficiencies in the appellant’s brief are such that no claims are preserved for appellate review. Smith v. City of St. Louis, 573 S.W.3d 705, 711 (Mo. App. E.D. 2019). The Campbells' brief exemplifies such deficiencies by extensively violating Rule 84.04. Our court cannot essentially become the Campbells' advocate and "reconstruct the facts of the case, speculate about the possible claims of error, and craft an argument on [the Campbells'] behalf" in order to address the merits of their appeal. Porter v. Div. of Employment Sec. , 310 S.W.3d 295, 297 (Mo. App. E.D. 2010).

First, Rule 84.04(e) requires an appellant to "include a concise statement describing whether the error was preserved for appellate review; if so, how it was preserved; and the applicable standard of review," which must be set out under "each claim of error." The Campbells fail to set forth an appropriate standard of review for any of their multiple points on appeal.

Second, Rule 84.04 (c) requires an appellant’s brief to include a "fair and concise statement of the facts relevant to the questions presented for determination without argument." It is the duty of the...

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1 practice notes
  • St. Louis Cnty. v. Shanklin, No. ED 108623
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 17, 2020
    ...do not become advocates by speculating on facts and arguments that have not been asserted. Campbell v. Woodland Lakes Trusteeship, Inc. , 591 S.W.3d 511, 512 (Mo. App. E.D. 2019). We prefer to decide cases on the merits when possible, and we will do so as long as we can ascertain the gist o......
1 cases
  • St. Louis Cnty. v. Shanklin, No. ED 108623
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 17, 2020
    ...do not become advocates by speculating on facts and arguments that have not been asserted. Campbell v. Woodland Lakes Trusteeship, Inc. , 591 S.W.3d 511, 512 (Mo. App. E.D. 2019). We prefer to decide cases on the merits when possible, and we will do so as long as we can ascertain the gist o......

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