Zick, Voss, Politte & Richardson, P.C., would like to congratulate our associate, Sean D. Brinker, on a successful trip to the Missouri Supreme Court. Sean recently secured a unanimous opinion in his favor on a writ of prohibition in State ex rel. AJKJ, Inc. v. The Honorable Craig E. Hellmann, SC97461.
Sean was before the Missouri Supreme Court on a writ of prohibition arguing that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to enter an order vacating the judgment after the underlying trial court case concluded and the judgment became final. In the underlying case, the trial court issued its judgment on July 19, 2018. On August 14, 2018, several individuals attempted to intervene in the case and asked the judge to vacate the judgment. The trial court did not rule on the motion to intervene or vacate the judgment until September 13, 2018, at which time the judge attempted to grant intervention and vacate the judgment.
Although several issues were presented to the Supreme Court, the determinative issue was the timing of the judgment and the intervenors request to join the case. After briefing and oral argument, the Missouri Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion finding that the trial court lacked the authority to vacate its judgment more than thirty days after entry of the judgment (July 19, 2018) because, pursuant to the Missouri Supreme Court Rules, the judgment became final on August 18, 2018. In a related issue, the Supreme Court determined that an intervenor is required to secure intervention before the judgment becomes final in order to raise claims reserved only to parties. Ultimately, the Missouri Supreme Court made its writ permanent, determined that the underlying trial court judgment was final, and precluded further action on the case. A copy of the Supreme Court’s opinion can be found here.
A trip to the Supreme Court is not only difficult to secure, but it is even more challenging to win. Congratulations to Sean and his client on a job well done.