By Josh Mitchell
Missourian Staff Writer
A citizen who is suing Franklin County over the appointment of attorneys was directed by a judge last Thursday to file an amended suit if he wants to proceed.
Associate Circuit Judge Richard Scheibe said the lawsuit filed by Art LeBeau of Villa Ridge did not meet some technical requirements.
LeBeau is representing himself in the case and is not an attorney.
The judge said LeBeau is a good “orator” but suffers from not going to law school and not knowing the framework in which lawsuits should be drafted.
Scheibe noted that his decision to require LeBeau to revise his lawsuit has nothing to do with the specific arguments in the case but just the form in which it was filed.
LeBeau said he will submit a revised version of the lawsuit, which is due by March 7.
The judge said that the lawsuit must include an allegation that LeBeau has standing in the case. Whether he has standing was not the issue Thursday but the fact that his lawsuit did not allege that he has standing.
Matthew Becker, the attorney representing the county in the case, filed a motion to have the case dismissed for lack of standing or at least require an amended lawsuit to be filed. Becker also said LeBeau’s lawsuit did not meet Missouri Supreme Court rules in terms of the way it was written.
The lawsuit contains questions when Missouri Supreme Court rules require a statement of facts for the defendants to admit or deny, Becker said.
Becker asked how the defendant could admit or deny a question.
On his rebuttal, LeBeau said his lawsuit was not all questions and that everything was written in a clear, concise and direct manner.
Becker said LeBeau does not have standing to sue the county in this instance because has not shown how he has been specifically affected or aggrieved by the commission orders that appointed the county’s legal representatives.
As a citizen of the county, LeBeau said he has standing to sue.
LeBeau noted that a similar standing issue was raised in a recent argument he had before the Missouri Supreme Court in another lawsuit he has filed against the county.
LeBeau said Becker does not have the capacity to represent the county in court. County Counselor Mark Vincent should be defending the county, LeBeau said, adding that Becker is not the county counselor.
The county commission appointed Becker as an assistant county counselor last year.
Many of the arguments that LeBeau raised during the hearing were not related to the county’s motion, which was the point of the hearing, Becker said.
The lawsuit alleges that a 2012 Franklin County Commission order that reappointed Vincent county counselor should be declared void because it is vague.
LeBeau says the commission order, which also appointed lawyers from the firm of Purschke, White, Robinson & Becker LLC of Union, violates state statute.
“A statute, order or ordinance is to be written in clear and concise language so that a person of reasonable intelligence can completely understand the subject,” the lawsuit states.
LeBeau recently filed an addition to his lawsuit, charging that the commission order from 2013 that appointed assistant county counselors Steven White, Joseph Purschke and Becker should also be declared void.