A Western District of Missouri decision that came down on April 21st. that addresses what is required for an entry by a judge on a docket  sheet to become a final appealable order. In Buxton v. Todd, --- S.W.3d ----, 2020 WL 1918713, The trial judge made the following docket entry: “Defendant appears by Attorney Carpenter. Attorney Gump appears. Case dismissed with prejudice for failure to prosecute. Court finds case has previously been dismissed.” The docket sheet was not signed by the judge and was not denominated a “judgment.”

The appeals court found the trial court’s dismissal with prejudice did not meet the requirements of Rule 74.01(a), and thus was not a judgment. And it was neither final nor otherwise appealable pursuant to Rule 74.01(a).

The Missouri Supreme Court recently clarified that, for purposes of section 512.020(5), RSMo 2016, which provides that “final judgments” are appealable, a final judgment must satisfy two criteria: (1) it must be a “judgment” in that it satisfies the requirements rule 74.01(a) (in writing, signed by the judge, and expressly denominated a judgment), and “it must fully resolve at least one claim in a lawsuit and establish all the rights and liabilities of the parties with respect to that claim”; and (2) “it must be ‘final,’ either because it disposes of all claims (or the last claim) in a lawsuit, or because it has been certified for immediate appeal pursuant to Rule 74.01(b).” Wilson v. City of St. Louis, No. SC97544, ––– S.W.3d ––––, ––––,2020 WL 203137 *5 and *5 n.9 (Mo. banc Jan. 14, 2020).

Because of the dismissal by docket sheet entry not becoming a judgment, Rule 75.01 did not apply, and the trial court retains jurisdiction in the case. See Peet v. Randolph, 103 S.W.3d 872, 876 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003) (where trial court’s dismissal by docket sheet entry did not meet the requirements of Rule 74.01(a), it was not a judgment, the thirty-day limit upon continued jurisdiction in Rule 75.01 did not apply, and the trial court did not lose jurisdiction thirty days after the dismissal by docket entry). Therefore, the trial judge could still consider and take up any motions to set aside or to reconsider and vacate, reopen, correct, amend, or modify its judgment within that time.