Missouri court clerk says civil records are not public
A court clerk at Division 2 of the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri said civil records are not available to the public.
“You can try civil records, but I doubt you’ll get them. Good luck with that,” the court representative said when asked why the court records would not be publicly available.
When an email inquiry was made, a representative from Missouri’s Casenet telephoned and said most civil records are available to the public and suggested calling back the court. This representative said that unless they are restricted by law or statute, all records are public.
The case in question was filed by Quentin Kearney against Lake Tapawingo Country Club. Casenet shows a hearing will be held Feb. 26 at Division 2 of the 16th Circuit Court with Judge Kenneth R. Garrett III presiding.
“The 16th Judicial Circuit, located in Jackson County, Missouri is part of the state court system. There are 45 circuits in Missouri,” according to the state court’s website.
“The circuit court is a court of general jurisdiction so, unless it is a municipal matter, most cases are filed with this court. Those include criminal, civil, probate, juvenile and small claims matters.
Cases that are appealed from the circuit court go to the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District which is located in Kansas City. If the case is appealed from there, it goes to the Missouri Supreme Court in Jefferson City.
The Jackson County Circuit Court is comprised of 19 circuit court judges, nine associate circuit court judges and eight commissioners. Circuit judges serve a term of six years, and associate circuit judges serve a term of four years. Commissioners are appointed to a four year term by the judges sitting as a whole, or as a court en banc.
The judges hear cases at four locations. The majority of the judges sit at the Kansas City Courthouse in downtown Kansas City, which is located at 415 E. 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64106.
About a third of the judges sit in eastern Jackson County at the Independence Courthouse located at 308 W. Kansas, Independence, Missouri 64050.
At the Criminal Justice Building, one circuit and one associate circuit judge oversee arraignments and preliminary hearings before a case is transferred to a trial division. That building is one block south of the downtown courthouse, and is located at 1315 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri.”
It continues, “About a third of the judges sit in eastern Jackson County at the Independence Courthouse located at 308 W. Kansas, Independence, Missouri 64050.
At the Criminal Justice Building, one circuit and one associate circuit judge oversee arraignments and preliminary hearings before a case is transferred to a trial division. That building is one block south of the downtown courthouse, and is located at 1315 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri.
Cases at the Family Court, which primarily handles juvenile matters, are overseen by one circuit court judge and three commissioners. The building at 625 E. 26th St. in Kansas City, Missouri, houses courtrooms, support staff and the Juvenile Detention Center.
In addition to the judicial functions, the Court also oversees the staff and services provided by the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center and two juvenile residential treatment facilities.
The Court is funded by the state and the county. In 2012, the yearly budget for all services provided is almost $50 million dollars. The Court employs 807 people in full and part time positions. It also has about 40 people who work on a temporary or back up basis.”
Kearney is involved in a lawsuit that is available in full online. Plaintiffs April R. Brasher and Richard M. Orencia, individually and on behalf of all persons similarly situated as collective representative under and/or as members of the Collective as permitted under the Fair Labor Standards Act, filed a lawsuit against Quincy Properties LLC, doing business as “Welcome Inn” and Welcome Inn Hotel Management, Inc. and Brett Burge, Kenneth Logan, Joe Wimberly and Kearney as individuals under FLSA and Illinois Wage Laws.
Court documents allege that the plaintiffs are seeking unpaid overtime, monetary damages, declaratory and injunctive relief and other equitable and ancillary relief, pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Kearney also sued residents of Creekside Village in Grain Valley, Missouri for defamation, a case that reportedly was settled before going to trial.
Looking Up Missouri Court Records
Not all civil records are difficult to access in Missouri Courts. Casenet does provide access to some records. In certain instances, docket entries can be retrieved. Also the names of attorneys representing plaintiffs and defendants are available.
As one court representative noted, it might be easier to obtain civil records from one of the attorneys involved in the case.
No one could provide further information as to how to obtain the records from the Missouri courts. One representative in court records said to contact the court where the case is heard and the representative at that court said to contact the court records clerk.
Photo credit: 16th Circuit Court, Jaci Mairs (Court Administrator 1995-2003)