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Appeal dismissed in Howard County coroner open records case

Judge: Circuit court ruling not complete

HOWARD COUNTY, Mo. - An appellate judge dismissed an appeal Tuesday in the open records case brought by the Glasgow School District against the Howard County coroner. 

A circuit court judge ruled in June that the coroner's office wrongfully withheld documents that were requested by the Glasgow School District.

Western District Appellate Judge Edward Ardini found that the trial court did not resolve whether the coroner violated open records law knowingly or purposefully, so the appeals court did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

It's possible that the case will be heard again in circuit court following Ardini's dismissal.

The documents requested by the district were related to a coroner's inquest into the death of Kenneth Suttner, which found that harrassment at work and school drove Suttner to suicide.

The school district sued the coroner's office in March 2017 after the office did not turn over the records, claiming it was closed.

The woman accused of bullying Suttner prior to his death, Harley Branham, is charged with Suttner's death and is set to go to trial in July.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Suttner's mother against the school district is set to be heard in Boone County court.

An attorney for the Howard County coroner's office did not comment Tuesday. A representative of the Glasgow School District could not immdiately be reached for comment.

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