by Jim Layton
On average, the Court handed down its opinion 146 days after oral argument, consistent with the figures for the first and third quarters.
But that average was measurably affected by two cases: City of Chesterfield v. State was handed down 468 days after oral argument, and City of Aurora v/ Spectra Communications was handed down a whopping 579 days after oral argument. In each, the Court, in opinions authored by Judge Breckenridge, significantly changed the analysis to be used in deciding statutory challenges brought under the Missouri Constitution’s “special law” provision, Art. III, § 40. If those two decisions are removed from the calculation, the average time between decision and argument falls to 121 days.
The average time between filing and decision for cases decided in the fourth quarter was 418 days. But that average was measurably affected not just by Chesterfield and Aurora, but also by Tharp v. St. Luke’s Surgicenter. Tharp was first argued in September 2018 and decided in February 2019. But the Court then granted a motion for rehearing. The appeal was argued again in October 2019 and decided in December.
The fastest resolution after argument was SC97787, decided per curiam just 26 days after argument. Judge Russell was the fastest with an opinion by a named judge: SC97622 was decided just 40 days after argument. Judge Fischer was close behind—and all five of opinions he authored were handed down 41-62 days after argument. Notably, his record includes three cases in which there was a dissent: SC97623 Key Insurance v. Roldan; SC97812 Ingram v. Chateau; and SC97845 Anheuser-Busch v. Moriarty.
James Layton leads the firm’s Appellate practice group and is a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation, Labor, and Education groups. He assists clients with analysis and presentation of complex legal issues in Missouri and federal courts, both trial and appellate. In addition to handling cases himself and with other attorneys at Tueth Keeney, Jim consults with clients on appellate strategy and assists other counsel in high-stakes, complex appeals.
Jim has briefed and argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and before all Missouri appellate courts—including more than 90 cases before the Missouri Supreme Court. He has represented clients in U.S. district courts and in Missouri circuit courts from Jackson County to the City of St. Louis. He has extensive experience with government-related litigation and state taxation disputes. Jim is a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a past president of the Bar Association of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and a past chair of the American Bar Association’s Council of Appellate Lawyers. He is a frequent speaker in the areas of appellate practice and constitutional law, both state and federal.
Appellate Practice – Tueth Keeney lawyers have briefed and argued hundreds of appeals, including appeals in all Missouri and Illinois state and federal appellate courts and in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Appellate Practice Group represents clients on a wide range of issues impacting businesses, individuals, government entities, and educational institutions. Tueth Keeney attorneys are also available to contribute their considerable experience (including more than 90 arguments before the Missouri Supreme Court) to appeals handled by others—strategizing, assisting with briefs, and preparing for oral argument.