Evaluation of the contours of mandamus from the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District.

""The purpose of the extraordinary writ of mandamus is to compel the performance of a ministerial duty that one charged with the duty has refused to perform." Furlong Companies, Inc. v. City of Kansas City, 189 S.W.3d 157, 165-66 (Mo. banc 2006). "The issuance of a writ is justified only when some legal authority requires an official to perform a particular act." Banks v. Slay, 410 S.W.3d 767, 769 (Mo. App. E.D. 2013). Mandamus may be used to enforce existing rights but not to establish new rights. Id. "A litigant asking relief by mandamus must allege and prove that he has a clear, unequivocal, specific right to a thing claimed. He must show himself possessed of a clear and legal right to the remedy." Furlong Companies, 189 S.W.3d at 166. "Whether a petitioner’s right to mandamus is clearly established and presently existing is determined by examining the statute or ordinance under which petitioner claims the right." State ex rel. Lee v. City of Grain Valley, 293 S.W.3d 104, 107 (Mo. App. W.D. 2009)(internal quotes and citation omitted). Mandamus may only be used where the ministerial duty sought to be performed is definite and arises under conditions imposed by law. Furlong Companies, 189 S.W.3d at 166."

Court Summary:

Thomas and Georgiann Manz, Donald and Vada Bryant, Trudy Surber, Suzanne Apel, and Melissa Burner (Petitioners) appeal the judgment of the trial court denying their motion for writ of mandamus requesting the trial court to direct the Jackson County Election Board to place on the August ballot a question that would allow voters to determine whether property within Blue Springs should be excluded from the boundaries of the Prairie Township Fire Protection District.  The trial court's judgment is affirmed.


Special Division holds:

Where the board of directors of the fire protection district did not have the power to exclude property from the district, the voters of the district also did not have power to exclude property from the district by initiative or referendum under section 321.490.  The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for writ of mandamus.

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