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Concerned Citizens for Crystal City v. Crystal City, No. ED94135 (Mo Ct. App.; Nov. 30, 2010)

Concerned Citizens for Crystal City v. Crystal City, No. ED94135 (Mo Ct. App.; Nov. 30, 2010)

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Court clarifies previous discovery order regarding disclosure of information by message board operator.
Court clarifies previous discovery order regarding disclosure of information by message board operator.

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Published by: Venkat Balasubramani on Dec 04, 2010
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In the Missouri Court of AppealsEastern District
 
DIVISION THREECONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CRYSTAL ) No. ED94135CITY, et al., ))Appellants, )) Appeal from the Circuit Courtvs. ) of Jefferson County)CITY OF CRYSTAL CITY, MISSOURI, )et al., ) Hon. Benjamin F. Lewis)Respondents, ))and ))WINGS ENTERPRISES, INC., ))Intervenor/Respondent. ) FILED: November 30, 2010ORDEROn the court’s own motion, the opinion in the above styled case handed down onOctober 26, 2010 is withdrawn. A new opinion is attached. The respondent’s motionfor rehearing, modification or transfer to the Supreme Court is denied as moot._________________________________________CLIFFORD H. AHRENS, Judgecc: Kathleen G. HenryDavid P. SenkelJeffrey D. SigmundDavid O. Kreuter
 
 
In the Missouri Court of AppealsEastern District
 
DIVISION THREECONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CRYSTAL ) No. ED94135CITY, et al., ))Appellants, )) Appeal from the Circuit Courtvs. ) of Jefferson County)CITY OF CRYSTAL CITY, MISSOURI, )et al., ) Hon. Benjamin F. Lewis)Respondents, ))and ))WINGS ENTERPRISES, INC., ))Intervenor/Respondent. ) FILED: November 30, 2010Concerned Citizens for Crystal City (“CCCC”), William McKenna, Jill Thomas,Sheryl Boss, and William Ginnever (collectively “Plaintiffs”) appeal from the judgmentof the trial court dismissing their lawsuit and all of their claims against the City of CrystalCity, Missouri (“Crystal City”) and a number of current and former Crystal City officials(Crystal City and its officials are collectively “Defendants”), as a sanction for discoveryviolations. We affirm in part and reverse and remand in part.In 1991, Pittsburgh Plate and Glass Company (“PPG”) shut down its factory inCrystal City, which it had operated there for many years. Since that time, Crystal Cityhas sought investors to redevelop the PPG real property. In 2006, Wings Enterprises, Inc.2
 
(“Wings”) expressed some interest in the PPG property, and began discussions withofficials of Crystal City. In 2006 and 2007 officials of Crystal City were involved in anumber of meetings and discussions relating to Wings’ potential redevelopment of thePPG property as an iron smelter. At some point in time, the public became aware of theproposed redevelopment of the PPG property by Wings. Thomas Kerr, who ownedproperty near the PPG site, proposed his own development plan, and Kerr was involvedin the establishment of CCCC, a non-profit organization that opposed the Wingsproposal. Ginnever became the president of CCCC and Jill Thomas served as a vice-president thereof.Ginnever set up a website and electronic forum (“Forum”) for CCCC for peopleto discuss the Wings development, with no restrictions on who could post comments tothe Forum. However, posters were required to enter into a registration agreement withCCCC and to provide an email address, apparently to reduce the possibility of spam onthe Forum. The authors of posted remarks were anonymous to viewers of the Forum, butGinnever, as webmaster of the Forum, had the ability to know who posted each comment,apparently due to the source email addresses and IP addresses for each posted remark.There were many postings to the Forum following its establishment. Despite theopposition of CCCC, the City Council of Crystal City approved the necessarytransactions for the development of the PPG property by Wings.In November 2007, the Plaintiffs filed a seven count petition against Defendants.Counts I, II, III, and IV alleged that Crystal City violated the Sunshine Law on multipledifferent occasions in connection with the redevelopment of the PPG property. Count Valleged that two ordinances connected with the Wings proposal were improperly enacted.3

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