Krantz v. Jackson Cnty.

Decision Date17 May 2016
Docket NumberWD 78307
Citation498 S.W.3d 1
Parties Bryan Krantz, Appellant, v. Jackson County, Missouri, Respondent.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

498 S.W.3d 1

Bryan Krantz, Appellant,
Jackson County, Missouri, Respondent.

WD 78307

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District.

OPINION FILED: May 17, 2016
Motion for Rehearing and/or Transfer to Supreme Court Denied July 5, 2016.

Application for Transfer Denied September 20, 2016

Lynne Bratcher, Kansas City, MO, Counsel for Appellant.

Marie Gockel, Kansas City, MO, Co–Counsel for Appellant.

Paul Seyferth, Kansas City, MO, Counsel for Respondent.

Nickalaus Seacord, Kansas City, MO, Co–Counsel for Respondent.

Before Division Three: Gary D. Witt, P.J., James Edward Welsh, and Anthony Rex Gabbert, JJ.

James Edward Welsh, Judge

When Bryan Krantz was fired by the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney after about 24 years of service as an assistant prosecutor, Krantz filed a petition for damages with the circuit court alleging that Jackson County intentionally engaged in unlawful retaliation against him in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act.1 The circuit court held a jury trial, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of Jackson County. Thereafter, Krantz filed a motion for new trial, which the circuit court denied. Krantz now appeals the circuit court's denial of his motion for new trial. He contends that the circuit court abused its discretion in denying his motion for new trial when (1) “it excluded all evidence from independent witnesses, including from Judge [Jack] Grate, that showed Plaintiff was truthful to Judge Grate during the hearing that Defendant claimed was the basis for Plaintiffs termination, but allowed Defendant and its management employees to offer opinions that Plaintiff had lied to Judge Grate;” (2) “it excluded evidence of other prosecutors' misconduct for which the other prosecutors received no discipline;” and (3) “it excluded evidence of [his immediate supervisor's] personal animus toward Plaintiff.” Krantz contends that all of this excluded evidence is “circumstantial evidence of retaliation.”

“Initially, we note that the denial of a motion for new trial is not an appealable order.” Basta v. Kansas City Power & Light Co., 456 S.W.3d 447, 451 (Mo.App. 2014). “No appeal lies from an order overruling a motion for a new trial, but the aggrieved party may appeal from a final judgment entered against him.” Walker v. Thompson, 338 S.W.2d 114, 116 (Mo. 1960). In his notice of appeal, Krantz specifically states: “Notice is given that Bryan Krantz appeals from the Order entered in this action on December 1, 2014.” The Order entered by the circuit court on December 1, 2014, is its order denying the motion for new trial. Moreover, Krantz attached to his notice of appeal the circuit court's “Judgement/Order,” dated December

498 S.W.3d 4

1, 2014, which is the circuit court's order denying the motion for new trial. Krantz did not attach a copy of the circuit court's judgment on the jury verdict. Thus, clearly Krantz is appealing from the denial of his motion for new trial.

When an appellant appeals from the denial of a motion for new trial, we typically will consider the issues raised by an appellant as an appeal from the final judgment. Basta, 456 S.W.3d at 451 ; Nickerson v. Moberly Foods, Inc., 781 S.W.2d 87, 91 (Mo.App. 1989). The problem in this case, however, is that this is not the only issue with Krantz's appeal.

In addition to appealing from a non-appealable order, Krantz's appellate brief suffers multiple deficiencies. First, in his statement of facts, Krantz does not provide specific page references to the relevant portions of the record where the circuit court's alleged erroneous evidentiary rulings occurred. In his statement of facts, Krantz merely asserts:

The trial court excluded all evidence of whether Judge Grate believed that Krantz had lied to him. The trial court also excluded all evidence of whether the Defendant had completely investigated if Krantz had lied to Judge Grate. The trial court excluded all evidence of ... misconduct [by Krantz's direct supervisor], for which she received no discipline, when she was untruthful in excluding African–American witnesses in a criminal case, resulting in the reversal of the case. The trial court excluded all evidence of the lack of discipline of prosecutors who failed to provide discovery in a murder case, State ex rel. Jackson Co. v. Prokes, 363 S.W.3d 71 (Mo.Ct.App. 2011), which was called the Buchli case, that resulted in the accused murderer being set free.

We have no idea where in the 1,204 page transcript that Krantz first attempted to introduce this evidence and where the circuit court sustained any objections to the evidence. Krantz does state, “Most of Defendant's evidentiary objections were sustained” and cites 49 separate pages in the transcript, which we assume are the page references to where those objections were sustained, but we have no indication where the specific rulings about which Krantz complains occurred.

Krantz also notes in his statement of facts that he made six separate offers of proof in the trial and further notes the page numbers of the transcript where those...

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