Trimble v. Pracna & Heartfelt

Decision Date11 June 2001
Docket NumberA-A
Citation51 S.W.3d 481
Parties(Mo.App. S.D. 2001) Karen Trimble d/b/advanced Bail Bonds, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Timmi Ann Pracna and Treveillian Heartfelt, Defendants-Respondents. 23149, 23232 and 23243 0
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Appeal From: Circuit Court of Greene County, Hon. Calvin Holden

Counsel for Appellant: R. Lynn Myers and Richard D. Crites

Counsel for Respondent: Charles B. Cowherd and Kristen S. Beerly

Opinion Summary: None

Shrum and Mongomery, JJ., concur.

John E. Parrish, Presiding Judge

Karen Trimble (plaintiff) is appellant in Nos. 23149 and 23232. Timmi Ann Pracna (defendant Pracna) is cross-appellant in No. 23243. The appeals are directed to the trial court's action in a case originating from dealings between a bail bondsman, plaintiff, and Treveillian Heartfelt (defendant Heartfelt) and defendant Pracna. The case arose from a contract and application for a $325,000 bail bond defendant Pracna obtained from plaintiff to secure the release of defendant Heartfelt from the Taney County, Missouri, jail. This court affirms No. 23243 as to defendant Pracna's counterclaim, dismisses No. 23232, affirms No. 23149 as to Counts IV and V of plaintiff's amended petition, and reverses No. 23149 as to damages on Count I and all issues on Counts II and III of plaintiff's amended petition. The case is remanded for new trial as to damages on plaintiff's claims in Count I and all issues on plaintiff's claims in Counts II and III of her amended petition.I. Case History

The attorneys who represented plaintiff at trial were the third group of attorneys she had engaged. The trial judge was the fourth judge assigned to the case. The first three recused.

The pleading on which plaintiff's case was tried is an amended petition. The original petition stated a one-count action against defendant Pracna and defendant Heartfelt for breach of contract. It was directed to a bond indemnity agreement relative to a bail bond that secured defendant Heartfelt's release from the Taney County jail.

The amended petition states five counts. Count I is for breach of contract. It is against both defendants. It is the same action that was stated in the original petition. The remaining counts are against defendant Pracna. They are a claim for fraud (Count II), a claim for conspiracy to commit fraud (Count III), a claim for abuse of process (Count IV), and a claim seeking an injunction to bar defendant Pracna from proceeding with litigation in another state (Count V).1

Defendant Pracna, in a similar spirit of litigious vigor, produced an eleven-count counterclaim. The counterclaim counts include two claims for money had and received (Counterclaim-Counts I and IX); six claims for fraud (Counterclaim-Counts II, III, IV, V, X and XI); one claim for breach of "fiduciary duties of good faith and fair dealing" (Counterclaim-Count VI); and two claims for outrageous conduct that produced emotional distress (Counterclaim-Counts VII and VIII). Counterclaim-Counts II, IV, VII and X include requests for punitive damages.2

A. Plaintiff's Claim Against Defendant Heartfelt

The original petition was filed October 24, 1996. Return of service on defendant Heartfelt was filed November 19, 1996. It shows personal service on November 12, 1996.

The trial court entered an interlocutory order of default as to defendant Heartfelt May 15, 1997. On August 13, 1998, the trial court filed a document entitled "Judgment." It recites that plaintiff presented evidence; that defendant Heartfelt had been served with process but had never answered or entered his appearance; that interlocutory judgment of default had been entered May 15, 1997. It states defendant Heartfelt signed a "Bond Indemnity Agreement" in exchange for plaintiff posting a $325,000 appearance bond in Taney County; that he defaulted on the bond by failing to appear as its terms required and fleeing the jurisdiction of the court in which the bond was filed. The trial court found plaintiff had been damaged in the amount of $197,925.30; that under the terms of the bond contract, she was also entitled to attorney fees in the amount of $65,975.10. The trial court further found that defendant Heartfelt was entitled to credit in the amount of $58,500 for funds previously paid by defendant Pracna to plaintiff. The document concluded with the declaration:


That the Plaintiff take and is awarded judgment against the Defendant, Treveillian Heartfelt in the total amount of $ 205,400.40 and that the Plaintiff is awarded her costs against the Defendant, Treveillian Heartfelt in the amount of $150.00.

B. Plaintiff's Claims Against Defendant Pracna

Plaintiff's claims against defendant Pracna and defendant Pracna's counterclaims against plaintiff proceeded to jury trial. Trial commenced March 15, 1999, with voir dire and opening statements. Plaintiff began presenting evidence March 16. Trial continued through March 19 when it was adjourned until March 29. On March 29 trial resumed. At the close of plaintiff's case-in-chief, the trial court granted motions of defendant Pracna for directed verdict as to Counts II and III of the amended petition and granted "partial directed verdict" as to Count I. Trial resumed March 31 with defendant Pracna presenting evidence. Defendant Pracna's evidence was followed by rebuttal evidence. Instructions were read to the jury, closing arguments were made and the case submitted.3

The claims that were submitted were plaintiff's breach of contract claim (Count I) and defendant Pracna's claims for breach of "fiduciary duties of good faith and fair dealing" (Counterclaim-Count VI) and money had and received for "funds . . . in excess of the amount of defendant Pracna's obligations under the bail bond contract." (Counterclaim-Count IX).

The jury returned a verdict for plaintiff on Count I of the amended petition (Verdict A) and assessed damages in the amount of $41,500. Verdicts on the two counterclaims defendant Pracna submitted (Verdicts B and C) were returned in favor of plaintiff.

Defendant Pracna filed motions entitled "Defendant's Motion to Correct and Amend Judgment" and "Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding Verdict, Alternative Motion for Remittitur and Alternative Motion for New Trial." Both motions were filed April 19, 1999.

On April 30, 1999, plaintiff filed a pleading entitled "Plaintiff's [sic] to Reopen and Amend Judgment and Motion for Addittur and Motion for New Trial." It included two requests for relief. The first sought "addittur to put the Judgment against the Defendant, Timmi Ann Pracna at $205,400.40 with interest at 9% from August 13, 1998." The second, subtitled "Plaintiff's Motion for New Trial," sought a new trial on the issue of damages on Count I of the amended petition and a new trial on all issues on Counts II, III and IV.

C. The Trial Court

The trial court entered judgment May 21, 1999, as to the claims tried to the jury in accordance with the verdicts. The judgment recites that pursuant to a motion for judgment on the pleadings, Counts IV and V of the amended petition were stricken. It awarded judgment for plaintiff against defendant Pracna for $41,500 and costs. The nine counterclaim counts that defendant Pracna did not submit (Counterclaim Counts I, II, III, IV, V, VII, VIII, X and XI) were dismissed with prejudice.

A June 1, 1999, docket entry states, "NOTICE SET FOR 6/18/99 AS TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO CORRECT AND AMEND JUDGMENT, FILED." There are two docket entries dated June 18, 1999. The first states a correction to an earlier docket entry. It notes an earlier docket entry stated judgment was signed May 20, 1999; that the statement was erroneous; that the judgment was signed May 19, 1999.

The second of the June 18 docket entries sustained defendant Pracna's motion to set aside the judgment. It further set "argument" for Monday, June 21, 1999, at 2:00 p.m. and states the parties were notified.

On June 21, 1999, plaintiff, by written motion, moved to set aside the June 18 order that granted defendant Pracna's motion to set aside the judgment. The motion to set aside the June 18 order asserted that a hearing had been scheduled for June 18 on defendant Pracna's motion to set aside the judgment; that plaintiff's attorney notified the trial court that he was experiencing an illness; that the trial court continued the hearing and advised plaintiff's attorney he would be notified of a new date. The motion further asserted plaintiff's attorney was notified a short time later that the hearing would be held Monday, June 21, 1999. It alleged that later the same day, plaintiff's attorney was told the trial court had, nevertheless, entered an order sustaining defendant Pracna's motion to set aside the judgment. Plaintiff contended that under the circumstances set forth in the motion, she had not been given reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard in opposition to defendant Pracna's motion to set aside the judgment. Plaintiff's motion requested the trial court to set aside the June 18 order and declare it void.

On August 19, 1999, the trial judge signed a document designated "Judgment." The circuit clerk's date-file stamp states the document was filed August 23, 1999.4 The document recites that the case was tried March 15-19 and on March 29 and March 31, 1999. It states the trial court "sustained Defendant Pracna's motion for directed verdict at the close of Plaintiff's evidence as to Counts II and III" and had "previously entered a judgment on the pleadings in favor of Defendant Pracna as to Counts IV and V of Plaintiff's First Amended Petition." The document states the jury rendered verdict for plaintiff on the remaining count of the amended petition and assessed damages at $41,500; that the jury rendered verdicts for plaintiff on defendant Pracna's two remaining counterclaims.

The "Judgment" then recites:

FURTHER, at the close of Plaintiff's evidence, this Court sustained in...

To continue reading

Request your trial
31 cases
  • Pope v. Pope
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • December 20, 2005
    ...a submissible case, were wholly insufficient to preserve anything for appellate review. Id. at 461. Similarly, in Trimble v. Pracna, 51 S.W.3d 481, 501 (Mo.App. S.D.2001), the court noted that a defendant's "failure to state specific grounds in a motion for directed verdict preserves nothin......
  • Kansas City Power & Light v. Bibb & Assoc.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • May 9, 2006
    ...speculation to determine its meaning cannot stand and cannot support a judgment entered thereon. Id. at 872; Trimble v. Pracna, 51 S.W.3d 481, 504 (Mo.App. S.D.2001). Section 510.230, RSMo 2000, and Rule 71.02 provide that the jury shall render a general verdict "[i]n every issue for the re......
  • In re Care and Treatment of Johnson, 26023.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • May 31, 2005
    ...present an appealable issue.6 See, e.g., Murphy v. Jackson Nat. Life Ins. Co., 83 S.W.3d 663, 669 n. 5 (Mo.App.2002); Trimble v. Pracna, 51 S.W.3d 481, 497 (Mo.App.2001); Shelter Mut. Ins. Co. v. DeShazo, 955 S.W.2d 234, 238 (Mo.App. 1997); Ferguson v. Wozniak Industries, Inc., 931 S.W.2d 9......
  • Fleshner v. Pepose Vision Institute, P.C., No. ED 90853 (Mo. App. 1/20/2009)
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • January 20, 2009 give a limiting instruction in this trial on evidence admitted after an untimely objection was error. See, e.g., Trimble v. Pracna, 51 S.W.3d 481, 503 (Mo.App. 2001). This part of point five is denied as Conclusion The judgment of the trial court is reversed, and the cause remanded for n......
  • 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