Missouri Supreme Court denies appeal in gun club case

Neighbors' $700,000 judgment in lawsuit stands
Thursday, December 31, 2009 | 10:19 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a $700,000 judgment against the Cedar Creek Rod and Gun Club in a nuisance lawsuit filed by Daniel and Donna Brown, who claimed that the noise and vibration from shooting at the club diminished their quality of life.

The legal wrangling in the case, however, isn’t over. Tyler Breed, the Browns’ attorney, said the circuit court still must decide who is legally responsible for paying the Browns and whether the gun club is violating an injunction that limits the days and times that shooting can occur and the frequency of special events the club can host.




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The Supreme Court’s Dec. 22 decision not to hear the appeal of the gun club is the latest ruling in the legal battle. The issue of who is responsible for paying the judgment is complicated by the fact that the Cedar Creek gun club was dissolved in August 2008 and replaced by a new shooting range, Prairie Grove Shooting Sports Inc., which leases the property from Gates Payne LLC. Ralph Gates was the founder and former president of the Cedar Creek club.

Breed said he has “received some documentation from Cedar Creek supporting that they do not have the money to pay.” Other parties that could be responsible, he said, include Gates, Prairie Grove Shooting Sports or the former Cedar Creek club’s insurance company.

“We believe that we have several viable options to collect the judgment, and we’re going to pursue them," Breed said.

The circuit court also will have to determine whether the gun club is violating terms of the injunction, which was imposed in April 2008. Five months later, on Aug. 28, 2008, an amendment to state law was enacted giving gun clubs immunity from lawsuits stemming from noise nuisances.

Shortly thereafter, the Browns filed a motion in circuit court asking that the club be found in contempt, claiming it had been violating the injunction since the law was enacted. That motion, however, was denied pending the appeals court ruling on the lawsuit and a request by the gun club that the injunction be lifted.

On July 31, Judge Lisa White Hardwick of the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District wrote the decision for the three-judge panel which upheld the $700,000 judgment but decided the legality of the injunction was a question for the circuit court. White Hardwick wrote that while the new statute protects the gun club from lawsuits over noise nuisances, it does not protect it from nuisance lawsuits based on vibrations caused by gunfire.

Breed said he hopes to see the case placed on the circuit court docket soon.

Attempts to reach attorneys who have represented the gun club were unsuccessful.

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Maggie Jeffery January 1, 2010 | 1:42 p.m.

Judge Hardwick needs to look up the word 'noise' in the dictionary. Noise IS vibration.

Cedar Creek provided a safe, educational experience for hundreds of youth in 4-H, FFA, and Boy Scouts. The only negative I experienced at Cedar Creek was the crazy neighbor lady yelling obscenities at the youth as they participated in shooting events.

(Report Comment)
Donna Brown January 1, 2010 | 2:00 p.m.

It would be appreciated to see the Missourian print a copy of the old statue which was dismantled by State Legislature, along side with the new law House Bill 2034.
This would give the public an immense understanding of how 2nd Amendment rights were sold to the legislature in a way to take property owners rights completely out of the equation. It appears. So I ask the question, was this law specially fabricated for this court case? As there were numerous gunclubs in the local area that were in violation of the old law. Why has this not been looked at by the FBI or Dept. of Justice as to the inner workings of our state legislature? I would start with the comparison of the new law HB 2034 and the old law Statue 537.294 where clearly gunclubs were immune if they followed certain guidlines. Now they don't have to follow any guidlines as far as protecting property owners rights. Think about the 3 year old child that took a bullet to the head because someone was target practicing next door.

(Report Comment)
Donna Brown January 1, 2010 | 6:22 p.m.

Our troops come home with traumatic stress syndrome due to daily exposure to gunfire. So why do you not think that lady wouldn't be crazy. If this was around your house for 15 years, what would you be doing?
Parents of 4H,FFA,boyscounts should be ashamed teaching thier children that it is ok to disrupt an entire substantiated neighborhood by starting their shooting as early as 7:30 A.M.Do all these people drive to the gunclub with blinders on? Do they not see how close houses are around this establishment?
It is sad that organizations when attention is brought forth that shows they aren't squeaky clean, they use childrens organizations to make themselves look good

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro January 1, 2010 | 7:10 p.m.

III llliiiivvveeeeddd nnneeeexxxttt ttttooo aaa ssssttttrrriiiippp mmmiiiiiinnnneee ttthhhhaatttt uuusssseeddd TTTNNNTTT aaannnndddd iiitttt dddiiiddd nnnooootttt eeeffffeeeecccctttt mmmeeee aaatt aaaallll.....

(Report Comment)
concerned citizen January 5, 2010 | 3:26 p.m.

Dear Donna Brown,

In reference to your comments -

In reference to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder comment -

Please take some time to look up the actual causes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in regards to our troops before speaking upon it. PTSD is not caused by listening to gunfire everyday, it is, however, caused by traumatic events that happen every day to the soldiers, including events such as being SHOT AT, and SHOOTING AT OTHER HUMAN BEIONGS in a war situation.

In reference to noise -

Separating noise from vibrations is ludicrous due to the fact that noise IS vibration. Please take the time to research the correlation between the two.

In reference to the FBI and Department of Justice comment -

Article IV, section 4 of the United States Constitution - The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.
The states are guaranteed the right to govern their own and to not be run by the Union (federal government,) therefore, the FBI and Dept. of Justice have no legal jurisdiction to investigate the inner workings of our state legislature.

continued in next comment

(Report Comment)
concerned citizen January 5, 2010 | 3:28 p.m.

continued from above comment

In reference to HB 2034 -

Please prove that House Bill 2034 was specially fabricated because of this legal proceeding.

In reference to comment - "Think about the 3 year old child that took a bullet to the head because someone was target practicing next door."

Who was involved?
When did the event occure?
Where did the event occure?
How did the event occure?
What are the circumstances behind the event?
How is the event relevant to the case at hand?

In reference to comment - "It is sad that organizations when attention is brought forth that shows they aren't squeaky clean, they use children’s organizations to make themselves look good."

The organization that you speak about has not USED children’s organizations to make them look good. They have, however, been very generous to child organizations to give them the opportunity to legally learn the correct way to handle legal firearms and to learn the responsibilities that come with knowing how to correctly handle those legal firearms.

In reference to the "neighborhood" -

In driving to the club from both directions and seeing the property around the club, I have noticed more open ground than residences. Cows seem to be a predominant tenant of your "neighborhood." Who in your "neighborhood" besides you, is complaining about the "noise and vibrations" coming from the range.

Property owners have a right to use owned property in the manner that they wish.
In regards to zoning restrictions - How is the property that the range sits on zoned? Is it commercial, industrial, rural, agricultural, residential, etc? Were they in violation to any of the zoning regulations that they fall under?

(Report Comment)
concerned citizen January 5, 2010 | 3:36 p.m.

In reference to comment made by -
"ray shapiro January 1, 2010 | 7:10 p.m.
III llliiiivvveeeeddd nnneeeexxxttt ttttooo aaa ssssttttrrriiiippp mmmiiiiiinnnneee ttthhhhaatttt uuusssseeddd TTTNNNTTT aaannnndddd iiitttt dddiiiddd nnnooootttt eeeffffeeeecccctttt mmmeeee aaatt aaaallll....."

Thank you for your comment that took forever to read due to the repetative nature of your spelling words. You are correct, but please next time just spell the word like they are ment to be spelled. It was very annoying to read.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 5, 2010 | 4:51 p.m.

concerned citizen sure has a writing style similar to an infamous someone who was recently banned from this site and who used "citizenz voice" as his moniker on the Tribune site after being banned there under his real name. Hmmm . . .

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro January 5, 2010 | 6:43 p.m.

A friend of a friend has asked me to convey that cc is not who I think you think it is.
Also, sssooorrryyy I messed with your eeeyyyeeesss.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez January 5, 2010 | 6:46 p.m.

@Jimmy Bearfield that is not who you think it might be nor his style of type. It does look like a semi clone of Mr Shapiro though but a very poor clone at that.

I wonder though who was there first the Gun Club or the Home Owner complaining?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro January 5, 2010 | 6:53 p.m.

@Carlos Sanchez:
Send in the clones.

(Report Comment)

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