Pemiscot County Memorial Hosp. v. Bell, 15753

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtHOLSTEIN; CROW, P.J., and GREENE
Citation770 S.W.2d 499
PartiesPEMISCOT COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Wanda L. BELL, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 15753,15753
Decision Date18 May 1989

Page 499

770 S.W.2d 499
PEMISCOT COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Wanda L. BELL, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 15753.
Missouri Court of Appeals,
Southern District,
Division One.
May 18, 1989.

Page 500

Stephen P. Sokoloff, Sharp and Sokoloff, Kennett, for defendant-appellant.

James E. Reeves, Ward & Reeves, Caruthersville, for plaintiff-respondent.

HOLSTEIN, Chief Judge.

This case is an appeal from a judgment entered in a proceeding commenced under Chapter 517 1 wherein the plaintiff, Pemiscot County Memorial Hospital, filed a claim for more than $5,000. § 512.180. The claim was based upon an "educational loan contract." Following a trial to the court, judgment was entered against the defendant, Wanda L. Bell, in the sum of $7,211.95 with interest in the amount of $1,182.69 computed from May 13, 1986, to the date judgment was rendered. From that judgment defendant appeals.

Before reaching the issues raised on appeal, we note that this court entered a sua sponte order directing defendant to show cause why the appeal should not be dismissed due to an apparent late filing of the notice of appeal. On March 10, 1988, the initial judgment was entered. Thereafter on March 21, 1988, defendant filed a motion seeking to vacate the court's judgment or, in the alternative, grant a new trial. On March 23 the plaintiff filed a motion to reopen the case for the purpose of presenting evidence relating to the corporate status of plaintiff. The motions were set for hearing on April 7, 1988, at which time the motion to reopen the case was sustained, additional evidence was heard, and the same judgment previously entered on March 10, 1988, was re-entered by the court. The docket sheet reflects that on May 6, 1988, defendant filed a supersedeas bond "without proper surety." The docket sheet makes no mention of a notice of appeal being filed or docket fee being paid that day; however, the stamp on the notice of appeal shows it was filed May 6, 1988. The docket sheet reflects that the notice of appeal was filed on May 24, 1988. In response to this court's sua sponte order, we were provided a copy of a letter addressed to the judge of the trial court and stamped filed May 6, 1988. The letter indicates that a $50 docket fee and notice of appeal had accompanied the filing of the appeal bond. Both parties have briefed the question.

There are essentially two problems created by the record. The first is that the initial judgment, entered March 10, 1988, was never specifically set aside for the purpose of entering a new judgment on April 7, 1988. The answer to the first problem is that the docket entry and the admission of additional evidence clearly show that the trial court intended to enter a new judgment on April 7. Except as otherwise provided by law, the rules of civil procedure are applicable to a Chapter 517 proceeding. § 517.021. The rules of civil procedure authorize trial courts to retain control over judgments for thirty days following the entry of the judgment during which, after giving notice to the parties and for good cause, the trial court may "vacate, reopen, correct, amend, or modify its judgment." Rule 75.01. 2 When we review a particular case to determine the date and content of a judgment, we may overlook the omission of mere matters of form and seek to determine what was intended

Page 501

by the court. Munn v. Garrett, 666 S.W.2d 37, 39 (Mo.App.1984). The clear intent here was to vacate the original judgment for the purpose of hearing additional evidence and enter a new judgment on April 7. Consequently, the new judgment was not final for purposes of appeal until May 7, 1988. Rule 81.05.

The second problem is that, according to the docket sheet, the notice of appeal was filed May 24, 1988. While the docket sheet did not record the filing of a notice of appeal until May 24, it is clear from the file stamp on the notice of appeal and the letter to the trial judge, provided in response to this court's sua sponte order, that a notice of appeal, docket fee, and appeal bond were all received by the trial court on May 6, 1988. A notice of appeal is considered filed when first received by an authorized party, and neither the disapproval of an appeal bond nor the error in a docket sheet will affect the timeliness of the notice of appeal. Brickell v. Hopwood, 729 S.W.2d 241, 242 (Mo.App.1987). The notice of appeal was timely filed.

Most of the facts are not disputed. Prior to June of 1982, defendant was a licensed practical nurse. In June of that year, she entered into a contract with Pemiscot County Memorial Hospital (hereafter "hospital") which provided as follows:

Pemiscot County Memorial Hospital agrees to:

1. Loan up to $750.00 per semester or $1,500.00 per year for tuition. The total amount may not exceed $3,000.00.

2. Pay stipend of $192.31 per pay period while a student enrolled and actively attending full-time courses.

3. To...

To continue reading

Request your trial
14 cases
  • US v. Strickland, 08-30091.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • April 19, 2010
    ...the plaintiff filed a motion to amend his petition over five months after he actually filed it); Pemiscot County Mem'l Hosp. v. Bell, 770 S.W.2d 499, 501(Mo.Ct.App.1989) (noting that the docket sheet recorded the notice of appeal as being filed eighteen days after it was actually Docket she......
  • Cornejo v. Crawford County, 26340.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • January 28, 2005
    ...In this instance, Respondent's capacity to sue cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. See Pemiscot County Mem'l Hosp. v. Bell, 770 S.W.2d 499, 502 (Mo.App.1989). Point denied. In its second point on appeal, Appellant maintains the trial court erred in awarding Respondent $18,400.00 ......
  • Davis v. Oaks, WD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • April 15, 1997
    ...is required is a pleading that sufficiently notifies the defendant of the nature of the claim. Pemiscot County Memorial Hosp. v. Bell, 770 S.W.2d 499, 502 (Mo.App.1989). Since Ms. Davis sufficiently communicated by her petition that the amount in controversy was not $5,000 or less, the form......
  • Kahn v. Kahn, 60070
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • September 8, 1992
    ...the omission of mere matters of form and seek to determine what was intended by the court." Pemiscot County Memorial Hosp. v. Bell, 770 S.W.2d 499, 500-01 As previously noted, following the entry of the first amended decree, various motions were filed, including wife's "Motion to Correct Mi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT