Thu, 05/12/2022 - 12:44pm admin
Lawsuit over collector’s seat proceeds to hearing
Amanda Mendez, Publisher
The lawsuit to remove Janet Crow from the ballot for Howell County collector will proceed to a hearing, a judge has decided.
In a hearing on May 6, the Honorable Steven Lynxwiler denied a motion to dismiss the suit. Mark Collins, a contender for the collector’s seat himself, filed a lawsuit on April 25 that seeks to remove his opponent from the ballot in the August election. Collins’ suit suggests that Crow failed to follow candidate filing procedures correctly.
Crow’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the suit on May 4, and the court heard arguments in a hearing Friday morning. A Memorandum of Law filed by Crow’s attorney lays out an argument that the Collins camp failed to follow procedures of law alleging that, “failure to comply with the statute…is fatal to the election contest.”
The statute in question is RSMo. 115.533, which spells out the way parties to election contest suits must be served.
“I have never been served,” confirmed Janet Crow in an email to Howell County News on May 5.
“[Collins] filed his election contest petition …on April 25, 2022, and service was required to be made within two days…Absent service on or before April 27, 2022, irrespective of the cause, [Collins] has failed to strictly comply with the election contest statutes and therefore must suffer the pain of dismissal of this action,” concludes Crow’s Memorandum of Law.
The court ultimately disagreed, and denied the motion because, “115.533 RSMo. does not apply to this cause of action…relating to how summons is issued and served,” reads the docket entry of the hearing.
A hearing has been set for May 23, six days before the ballots in the August election are to be certified.
The court clerk was ordered to issue summons to both Crow and to County Clerk Kelly Waggoner, who is also named as a respondent in Collins’ suit. Online docket entries show the original summonses were withdrawn on April 27 with the note, “pursuant to [a] phone conversation and email from Petitioner’s attorney’s paralegal regarding issuance of summons, email and case file forwarded to Judge Privette for review.”
Judge Privette later recused himself from the case, and the matter was reassigned to Judge Lynxwiler on May 3.
Summonses were duly issued to Crow and Waggoner on May 6.