Missouri Supreme Court Substitute Briefs

There are generally two ways to get a case heard in the Missouri Supreme Court. First, it has jurisdiction over certain cases, like constitutional challenges, certain types of revenue laws, and death penalty appeals. Second, it can hear cases which present questions of general interest or importance. Under this second approach, the Court of appeals or a party can seek transfer on this basis. This is also considered an “extraordinary remedy.” Rule 83.04.

If the Supreme Court grants transfer, the parties have the opportunity to file substitute briefs. The parties cannot “alter the basis of any claim that was raised in the court of appeals brief.” Rule 83.03(b). The meaning of this rule can be elusive. On the one hand, the Supreme Court has held that new points on appeal not raised in the appellate court cannot be asserted for the first time in the Supreme Court. JAR v. DGR, 426 S.W.3d 624, 629 (Mo. 2014). On the other hand, it does not “prohibit a party filing a substitute brief…from improving the brief with more detailed legal analysis.” Cox v. Kansas City Chiefs Football Club, 473 S.W.3d 107, 130 n4 (Mo. 2015).


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