Missouri Supreme Court Quarterly Report, July 2019, Part 1: Who? And how long did it take?

Jul 10, 2019

During the second quarter of 2019, April-June, the Missouri Supreme Court handed down 21 opinions, deciding 22 cases””about the same as the first quarter. This first part of my quarterly report details who wrote the Court’s opinions, and how long the Court took to issue opinions.


  • Judge Powell was again the most prolific writer: he authored 4 majority and 3 other opinions. At the other extreme, Judge Wilson authored just 1 opinion””for the majority.
  • The judge who most often authored or joined a concurring or dissenting opinion was Judge Powell, who departed from the majority 4 times. Least likely was Judge Russell, who departed from the majority just once.
  • The number of majority opinions authored so far this year are:
    • Chief Justice Draper: 7
    • Judge Wilson: 4
    • Judge Russell: 7
    • Judge Powell: 9
    • Judge Breckenridge: 4
    • Judge Stith: 6
    • Judge Fischer: 5

How long:

  • On average, the Court handed down its decision 128 days after oral argument, notably faster than the 160 days for decisions handed down in the first quarter. Whether there are multiple opinions still mattered, though not as much:
    • Decisions in cases with a single opinion averaged 115 days after argument (compared to 105 days in the first quarter);
    • Decisions in cases with multiple opinions averaged 155 days after argument (compared to 214 days in the first quarter).
  • The fastest resolutions after argument were SC97511, Seaton v Shelter Mut Ins Co, and SC97461, AJKJ v Hellman“”both argued on April 10 and decided, unanimously, on June 4 with opinions written by Judges Draper and Powell.
  • The slowest resolutions after argument were SC96985, Newberry v Jackson, argued Sept. 18 and decided May 21 (245 days), and SC97317, Cosby v Treasurer, argued Oct. 24 and decided on June 25 (244 days). Both opinions were authored by Judge Breckenridge””in Newberry for a unanimous court, and in Cosby with a dissent from Judge Stith.
  • The fastest resolution after filing was SC97511, Seaton v Shelter Mut Ins Co, filed December 18, 2018, and decided April 10.
  • The slowest resolution after filing was SC96633, Shockley v State, filed August 14, 2018 and decided April 16, 2019.


  • The fastest resolutions, by author, were those with the majority opinion written by Judge Powell. His four opinions were issued on average 69 days after argument””and just 50 days for those that were written for a unanimous court.
  • The slowest resolutions, by author, were those with the majority opinion written by Judge Breckenridge, whose opinions were handed down, on average, 230 days after argument.

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.