Otte v. Edwards, No. ED 97404.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtSHERRI B. SULLIVAN
Citation370 S.W.3d 898
PartiesAdela OTTE and Donnie Scott, Plaintiffs/Appellants, v. Dean A. EDWARDS, Sr., Dinnell Edwards, and Dean Edwards, Jr., Defendants/Respondents.
Decision Date03 July 2012
Docket NumberNo. ED 97404.

370 S.W.3d 898

Adela OTTE and Donnie Scott, Plaintiffs/Appellants,
v.
Dean A. EDWARDS, Sr., Dinnell Edwards, and Dean Edwards, Jr., Defendants/Respondents.

No. ED 97404.

Missouri Court of Appeals,
Eastern District,
Division Three.

May 22, 2012.
Application for Transfer to Supreme Court
Denied July 3, 2012.



Application for Transfer Denied
Aug. 14, 2012.

[370 S.W.3d 899]




Douglas B. Salsbury, Eureka, MO, For Plaintiffs/Appellants.

James A. Harfst, Louis, MO, For Defendants/Respondents.


Introduction

SHERRI B. SULLIVAN, J.

Adela Otte and Donnie Scott (Appellants) appeal from the trial court's judgment granting Dean A. Edwards, Sr., Dinnell Edwards and Dean Edwards, Jr.'s (collectively Respondents) Motion to Dismiss Count I of Appellants' Petition for Wrongful Death. We affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background

Dinnell E. and Dean A. Edwards, Sr. are the parents of Dean A. Edwards, Jr. (Dean). In their petition, Appellants allege that on the evening of June 26, 2010, Respondents held a party at their home for Dean and his friends. Appellants' son, Ethan Otte (Ethan), a friend of Dean's, attended the party. Appellants allege that Respondents served and/or countenanced the consumption of alcoholic beverages by the attendees of the party, including Ethan,

[370 S.W.3d 900]

who was a minor. Ethan became intoxicated and wandered onto the highway in front of Respondents' home, where he was struck by a motor vehicle, sustaining severe injuries from which he died shortly thereafter on June 27, 2010.

Appellants filed a two-count petition, Count I asserting a wrongful death cause of action against Respondents based upon the language contained in Section 311.310 RSMo 2006, as modified in 2005. Upon motion by Respondents, the trial court dismissed Count I for failure to state a cause of action. 1 This appeal follows.

Point Relied On

In their point relied on, Appellants maintain that the trial court erred in granting Respondents' motion to dismiss and in holding that a civil cause of action does not exist under common law and was not created when the criminal statute, Section 311.310, was modified in 2005 by the General Assembly. Appellants assert that in modifying Section 311.310, the General Assembly affirmatively created a duty in a landowner to a person under the legal drinking age, such as Ethan, and in so doing created a standard of care giving rise to a civil cause of action under Section 311.310 as asserted by Appellants in Count I of their petition.

Standard of Review

We review a trial court's decision to grant a motion to dismiss de novo. Coons v. Berry, 304 S.W.3d 215, 217 (Mo.App. W.D.2009). When reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, we apply the following standard of review:

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action is solely a test of the adequacy of the plaintiff's petition. It assumes that all of plaintiff's averments are true, and liberally grants to plaintiff all reasonable inferences therefrom. No attempt is made to weigh any facts alleged as to whether they are credible or persuasive. Instead, the petition is reviewed in an almost academic manner, to determine if the facts alleged meet the elements of a recognized cause of action, or of a cause that might be adopted in that case.

Id., quoting State ex rel. Henley v. Bickel, 285 S.W.3d 327, 329 (Mo.banc 2009). “In order to avoid dismissal, the petition must invoke ‘substantive principles of law entitling plaintiff to relief and ... ultimate facts informing the defendant of that which plaintiff will attempt to establish at trial.’ ” Coons, 304 S.W.3d at 217–18, quoting Henley, 285 S.W.3d at 329–30.


Matters of statutory interpretation and the application of the statute to specific facts are also reviewed de novo. Boggs ex rel. Boggs v. Lay, 164 S.W.3d 4, 23 (Mo.App. E.D.2005).

Discussion

While it is unlawful to furnish alcoholic beverages to those under the legal drinking age, see Section 311.310, in order for Appellants to establish civil liability on the part of Respondents in Count I of their petition, they are required to establish: 1) a civil duty not to furnish Ethan with intoxicating liquor; 2) breach of that duty; and 3) the furnishing of alcoholic beverages to Ethan was the proximate cause of his death. Andres v. Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity, 730 S.W.2d 547, 550 (Mo.banc 1987). In the instant case, Appellants cannot do that because in Missouri,

[370 S.W.3d 901]

social hosts have no common law civil duty “to abstain from furnishing alcoholic beverages to an individual.” Id. at 553. This is so even in circumstances where it is unlawful to provide such beverages to the individual because he or...

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13 practice notes
  • Kiriakos v. Dankos, No. 20, Sept. Term, 2015
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 5, 2016
    ...S.W.3d 215 (Mo.Ct.App.2009), a statute similar to CR § 10–117(b), and on facts strikingly similar to those before us. Otte v. Edwards, 370 S.W.3d 898, 902–03 (Mo.Ct.App.2012). The court's reasoning, however, is unpersuasive. In Otte, the court stated that “[v]iolations of [the relevant stat......
  • Kiriakos v. Dankos, No. 20
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 5, 2016
    ...S.W.3d 215 (Mo. Ct. App. 2009), a statute similar to CR § 10-117(b), and on facts strikingly similar to those before us. Otte v. Edwards, 370 S.W.3d 898, 902-03 (Mo. Ct. App. 2012). The court's reasoning, however, is unpersuasive. In Otte, the court stated that "[v]iolations of [the relevan......
  • Horton v. State, No. SD 33329
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • April 13, 2015
    ...a given set of facts is a question of law we review de novo, giving no deference to the trial court's conclusions. See Otte v. Edwards, 370 S.W.3d 898, 900 (Mo.App.E.D.2012).Solomon v. St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, 409 S.W.3d 487, 489 (Mo.App.E.D.2013).Petitioner is corr......
  • Unverferth v. City of Florissant, No. ED98511
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • September 10, 2013
    ...the facts alleged meet the elements of a recognized cause of action or of a cause that might be adopted in that case. Otte v. Edwards, 370 S.W.3d 898, 900 (Mo. App. E.D. 2012). When reviewing a motion to dismiss, this Court assumes that all facts in plaintiff's petition are true, and we mus......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • Kiriakos v. Dankos, No. 20, Sept. Term, 2015
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 5, 2016
    ...S.W.3d 215 (Mo.Ct.App.2009), a statute similar to CR § 10–117(b), and on facts strikingly similar to those before us. Otte v. Edwards, 370 S.W.3d 898, 902–03 (Mo.Ct.App.2012). The court's reasoning, however, is unpersuasive. In Otte, the court stated that “[v]iolations of [the relevant stat......
  • Kiriakos v. Dankos, No. 20
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 5, 2016
    ...S.W.3d 215 (Mo. Ct. App. 2009), a statute similar to CR § 10-117(b), and on facts strikingly similar to those before us. Otte v. Edwards, 370 S.W.3d 898, 902-03 (Mo. Ct. App. 2012). The court's reasoning, however, is unpersuasive. In Otte, the court stated that "[v]iolations of [the relevan......
  • Horton v. State, No. SD 33329
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • April 13, 2015
    ...a given set of facts is a question of law we review de novo, giving no deference to the trial court's conclusions. See Otte v. Edwards, 370 S.W.3d 898, 900 (Mo.App.E.D.2012).Solomon v. St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, 409 S.W.3d 487, 489 (Mo.App.E.D.2013).Petitioner is corr......
  • Unverferth v. City of Florissant, No. ED98511
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • September 10, 2013
    ...the facts alleged meet the elements of a recognized cause of action or of a cause that might be adopted in that case. Otte v. Edwards, 370 S.W.3d 898, 900 (Mo. App. E.D. 2012). When reviewing a motion to dismiss, this Court assumes that all facts in plaintiff's petition are true, and we mus......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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