The Franklin County counselor Tuesday said a judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the county’s attempts to refinance bonds is made final.
Counselor Mark Vincent said the deadline for appeals has passed in the case filed by Art LeBeau and Eric Reichert, both of Villa Ridge, and Ron Keeven, New Haven.
The three men sought injunctive relief, questioning in their filings a commission order which delegated signatory authority to Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer.
The commission order in question pertained to the refinancing of tens of millions in lease-back bonds, called certificates of participation, or COPs.
The men have denied the suit was filed in an attempt to block the refinancing.
The injunction was initially filed in early May of this year.
Judge John Berkemeyer heard the county’s motion to dismiss June 18. It was granted several days later.
In early July, the plaintiffs issued three motions, a motion to amend their petition, a motion to set aside Berkemeyer’s ruling and a motion for change of judge.
Berkemeyer said in late July that a different judge would have to hear the motion for a change of judge because of an inherent conflict of interest in Berkemeyer’s ruling on a request to have himself removed from the case.
Judge Wesley Dalton held an evidentiary hearing on the motion to dismiss Berkemeyer in early September.
At that hearing, LeBeau said he wanted to call a number of witnesses who claim to have heard Berkemeyer state he never read the plaintiff’s petition.
Attorneys for the county said that testimony would be hearsay, to which Dalton agreed.
Dalton then denied the plaintiffs’ motion based on a lack of evidence.
In general civil and criminal appeals, a notice of appeal must be submitted 10 days after a judgment becomes final, according to the Missouri courts website, courts.mo.gov.
In civil cases, a judgment becomes final “30 days after the entry of the judgment if no timely motion for new trial is filed.”
The plaintiffs filed no such motion in their suit against the county.
Late notices of appeal can be submitted within six months of final judgment in civil cases, but such filings are granted by special order from the state court of appeals.
Such late filings can not be granted due to “the appellant’s culpable negligence.”