Chapter 514 Costs (Civil Cases)

514.040 - Plaintiff may sue as pauper, when — counsel assigned him by court — correctional center offenders, costs — waiver of costs and expenses, when.

Steven Groce, Attorney Advertisement

1.Except as provided in subsection 3 of this section, if any court shall, before or after the commencement of any suit pending before it, be satisfied that the plaintiff is a poor person, and unable to prosecute his or her suit, and pay all or any portion of the costs and expenses thereof, such court may, in its discretion, permit him or her to commence and prosecute his or her action as a poor person, and thereupon such poor person shall have all necessary process and proceedings as in other cases, without fees, tax or charge as the court determines the person cannot pay; and the court may assign to such person counsel, who, as well as all other officers of the court, shall perform their duties in such suit without fee or reward as the court may excuse; but if judgment is entered for the plaintiff, costs shall be recovered, which shall be collected for the use of the officers of the court.

2.In any civil action brought in a court of this state by any offender convicted of a crime who is confined in any state prison or correctional center, the court shall not reduce the amount required as security for costs upon filing such suit to an amount of less than ten dollars pursuant to this section.This subsection shall not apply to any action for which no sum as security for costs is required to be paid upon filing such suit.

3.Where a party is represented in a civil action by a legal aid society or a legal services or other nonprofit organization funded in whole or substantial part by moneys appropriated by the general assembly of the state of Missouri, which has as its primary purpose the furnishing of legal services to indigent persons, by a law school clinic which has as its primary purpose educating law students through furnishing legal services to indigent persons, or by private counsel working on behalf of or under the auspices of such society, all costs and expenses, except guardian ad litem fees as provided by this subsection, related to the prosecution of the suit may be waived without the necessity of a motion and court approval, provided that a determination has been made by such society or organization that such party is unable to pay the costs, fees and expenses necessary to prosecute or defend the action, and that a certification that such determination has been made is filed with the clerk of the court.In the event an action involving the appointment of a guardian ad litem goes to trial, an updated certification shall be filed prior to the trial commencing.The waiver of guardian ad litem fees for a party who has filed a certification may be reviewed by the court at the conclusion of the action upon the motion of any party requesting the court to apportion guardian ad litem fees.

4.Any party may present additional evidence on the financial condition of the parties.Based upon that evidence, if the court finds the certifying party has the present ability to pay, the court may enter judgment ordering the certifying party to pay a portion of the guardian ad litem fees.

5.Any failure to pay guardian ad litem fees shall not preclude a certifying party from filing future suits, including motions to modify, and shall not be used as a basis to limit the certifying party's prosecution or defense of the action.

(RSMo 1939 § 1404, A.L. 1995 H.B. 424, A.L. 1999 S.B. 1, et al., A.L. 2013 H.B. 374 & 434 merged with S.B. 100, A.L. 2018 H.B. 2101)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1240; 1919 § 1692; 1909 § 2261

(1973) Where an order of publication for service of process was found to be a "necessary process" within meaning of this section, relator, proceeding as a poor person, was entitled to issuance of such order and to publication of notice thus required without cost, and payment for such publication should be allowed from county treasury. State ex rel. Taylor v. Clymer (A.), 503 S.W.2d 53.

(1985) An attorney cannot be forced to represent an indigent prison inmate in a medical malpractice action without compensation.State ex rel. Scott v. Roper (Mo. banc), 688 S.W.2d 757.

(1985) A two stage inquiry is required by this statute. In the first stage the court must determine the plaintiff's eligibility based upon plaintiff's poverty. In the second stage, given the plaintiff's indigency, the court should, using its discretion, examine plaintiff petition to see if it is frivolous or malicious on its face. State ex rel. Coats v. Lewis (Mo.App.) 689 S.W.2d 800.

(2004) Office of state public defender qualifies under section.State ex rel. Francis v. McElwain, 140 S.W.3d 36 (Mo.banc).

514.240 - Tender without deposit stops interest or accumulation of damages.

Where tender and no deposit shall be made, as provided in section 514.230, the tender shall only have the effect, in law, to prevent the running of interest or accumulation of damages from and after the time such tender was made.

(RSMo 1939 § 1424)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1260; 1919 § 1712; 1909 § 2281

514.205 - Frivolous suit, consequences of filing — limitations.

1.In any civil action or part of a civil action pending before any division of any court of this state including the probate division of the circuit court, if the court finds after a hearing for such purpose that the cause was initiated, or a defense was asserted, or a motion was filed, or any proceeding therein was had frivolously and in bad faith, the court shall require the party who initiated such cause, asserted such defense, filed such motion, or caused such proceeding to be had to pay the other party named in such action the amount of the costs attributable thereto and the reasonable expenses incurred by the party opposing such cause, defense, motion, or proceeding, including reasonable attorney's fees and compensation of said party for the time reasonably required of the party to oppose such cause, defense, motion or proceeding.Nothing in this section shall be construed as creating any liability on the part of any attorney representing a party in the proceeding who in good faith acted at the specific direction of his client in initiating the case, asserting the defense, filing the motion, or causing the proceeding to be had.

2.The provisions of this section shall not apply to specific conduct occurring prior to September 28, 1985.The provisions of this section shall not apply to proceedings brought in the nature of a civil action where a convicted person seeks a judicial review of his conviction.

(L. 1985 S.B. 5, et al. § 2)

514.050 - Issuance of writ without fees by clerk, when.

If any person file, before any clerk in vacation, an affidavit that he has a just and subsisting cause of action on which he proposes to bring a suit, and that he is unable to pay the costs, the clerk shall issue an original writ, without fees for the same.But the court may, in its discretion, refuse or permit the further prosecution of the suit.

(RSMo 1939 § 1405)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1241; 1919 § 1693; 1909 § 2262

514.250 - Tender in court after suit brought — when plaintiff shall pay all costs from the time of such tender.

If, in any suit pending, the defendant shall, at any time, deposit with the clerk, for the use of the plaintiff, the amount of the debt or damages he admits to be due, together with all costs that have then accrued, and the plaintiff shall refuse to accept the same in discharge of his suit, and shall not afterward recover a larger sum for his debt or damages due, and costs accrued up to the time of deposit, than the sum so deposited, he shall pay all costs that may accrue from and after the time such money was so deposited, as aforesaid.

(RSMo 1939 § 1425)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1261; 1919 § 1713; 1909 § 2282

514.270 - Retaxation of costs, when made — effect.

Any person aggrieved by the taxation of a bill of costs may, upon application, have the same retaxed by the court in which the action or proceeding was had, and in such retaxation all errors shall be corrected by the court; and if the party aggrieved shall have paid any unlawful charge, by reason of the first taxation, the clerk shall pay the costs of retaxation, and also to the party aggrieved the amount which he may have paid by reason of the allowing of such unlawful charge.

(RSMo 1939 § 1428)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1264; 1919 § 1716; 1909 § 2285

514.070 - Costs on motions.

On all motions the court may give or refuse costs at its discretion, unless where it is otherwise provided by law.

(RSMo 1939 § 1407)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1243; 1919 § 1695; 1909 § 2264

514.170 - Adjudication of costs upon dismissal of plaintiff's suit — in other cases.

Upon the plaintiff dismissing his suit, or defendant dismissing the same for want of prosecution, the defendant shall recover against the plaintiff his costs; and in all other cases it shall be in the discretion of the court to award costs or not, except in those cases in which a different provision is made by law.

(RSMo 1939 § 1418)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1254; 1919 § 1706; 1909 § 2275

514.260 - Duty of clerk in taxing bill of costs.

The clerk shall tax and subscribe all bills of costs arising in any cause or proceedings instituted or adjudged in the court of which he is the clerk, agreeably to fees which shall, for the time being, be allowed by law, and shall in no case allow any item or charge, unless the service for which it was made was actually performed in the cause.

(RSMo 1939 § 1427)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1263; 1919 § 1715; 1909 § 2284

514.160 - Appeals to supreme court or court of appeals, adjudication of costs.

If any person shall take an appeal from a judgment of any court to the supreme court, or to any district of the court of appeals, and the judgment shall be affirmed or the appeal discontinued or dismissed, the appellee shall recover his costs; and if the judgment be reversed, the appellant shall recover his costs.

(RSMo 1939 § 1417, A. 1949 H.B. 2122, A.L. 1973 S.B. 263)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1253; 1919 § 1705; 1909 § 2274

514.060 - Recovery of costs in civil actions, by whom.

In all civil actions, or proceedings of any kind, the party prevailing shall recover his costs against the other party, except in those cases in which a different provision is made by law.

(RSMo 1939 § 1406)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1242; 1919 § 1694; 1909 § 2263

514.335 - Guardian ad litem appointed for minors not party to action, compensation.

In any court case or proceeding in which a guardian ad litem is appointed by the court to safeguard the interests of a minor and in which the minor is not a party, the court may enter judgment in favor of the guardian ad litem allowing reasonable compensation for such guardian ad litem's services.

(L. 1982 S.B. 722 § 1, A.L. 1996 S.B. 869)

Effective 7-01-97

514.330 - Court costs — collection.

The clerks who are responsible by law or court rule for collecting court costs shall strictly examine the accounts of all court costs accruing during the progress of any civil suit pending in divisions for which they are responsible for collecting court costs, and shall correct the same if wrong in any manner, and shall thereupon enter the amount thereof upon their records; and if the person or persons and their sureties for costs properly chargeable with such court costs shall neglect or refuse to pay the amount thereof, and costs for issuing and serving the same, within thirty days after demand, the clerk shall take such action to collect such fees as provided by sections 488.010 to 488.020*.

(RSMo 1939 § 13398, A. 1949 H.B. 2122, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1634, A.L. 1996 S.B. 869)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11776; 1919 § 10986; 1909 § 10690

Effective 7-01-97

*Words "section 514.015" appear in original rolls, which was changed to effectuate the court cost bill.

514.230 - Deposit or tender made before suit, plaintiff not to recover costs.

In all actions where, before suit brought, tender shall be made and full payment offered, by discount or otherwise, in such specie and at such time and place as the party, by contract or agreement, ought to do, and the thing tendered, if in money, shall be deposited in court, or if not money, committed under an order of court to the sheriff or other officer of court, for the use of the plaintiff, before the trial of the cause shall commence, and the party to whom such tender shall be made doth refuse the same, and yet afterward will sue for the debt or property so tendered, the plaintiff shall not recover any costs in such suit, but the defendant shall recover costs, as if the judgment in the cause had gone in his favor upon the merits.

(RSMo 1939 § 1423)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1259; 1919 § 1711; 1909 § 2280

514.130 - In cases of certiorari, successful party to recover costs.

In all cases where either party shall sue out a certiorari upon any judgment where the same shall be allowed by law, the successful party in the superior court shall recover costs in both courts.

(RSMo 1939 § 1413)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1237; 1919 § 1689; 1909 § 2258

514.220 - Adjudication of costs in partition.

In all cases founded on the statutes concerning the partition of lands, the costs shall be paid by the parties plaintiff and defendant, according to their respective interests in the lands which may be the subject of the proceedings; and the court shall render judgment against each party for his or her share of such costs.If the lands, or any part thereof, be sold in partition, then the costs adjudged against the party or parties whose interests shall be sold shall be paid out of the proceeds of such sale; and against all parties to such proceedings among whom partition shall be made in kind, an execution may issue, and shall be levied on the lands, tenements, goods and chattels of each party to such proceedings, whose share is set off in kind; provided, that no lands, tenements, goods or chattels shall be levied upon and sold, under and by virtue of such execution, except for the satisfaction of such part of said costs as may be adjudged against the owner thereof.

(RSMo 1939 § 1422)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1258; 1919 § 1710; 1909 § 2279


Costs in partition to be paid from proceeds of sale, 528.460

Partition costs, 528.220, 528.320, 528.350, 528.450, 528.530, 528.580, 528.610

514.100 - In case of several defendants, judgment in favor of one or more — costs, how awarded.

Where several persons are made defendants to any action, and any one or more of them shall have judgment in his favor, every person so having judgment shall recover his costs, in like manner as if such judgment had been entered in favor of all the defendants, unless it shall appear to the court that there was reasonable cause for making such person defendant to such action.

(RSMo 1939 § 1410)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1246; 1919 § 1698; 1909 § 2267

514.200 - General judgment for costs against the state not given.

In all such cases, the judgment against the state or county shall not be for costs generally, but the amount thereof shall be expressed in the judgment, and no such judgment shall afterwards be amended so as to increase the amount for which it was originally entered; and, upon a transcript of such judgment, together with a certified copy of the fee bill, showing the items of cost, being presented to the state auditor or the county court, the same shall be audited and allowed.

(RSMo 1939 § 1420)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1256; 1919 § 1708; 1909 § 2277

514.110 - In actions ex delicto, how awarded.

In all actions not founded on contract, the damages claimed in the petition shall determine the jurisdiction of the court, and if the plaintiff recover any damages he shall recover his costs.

(RSMo 1939 § 1411)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1247; 1919 § 1699; 1909 § 2268

514.310 - Fee bill and writ of fieri facias to contain written or printed itemized statement of costs.

Every fee bill and every writ of fieri facias issuing out of any court of record in this state, shall have written or printed thereon a true statement of each and every item of all the taxable costs in the case, and over against each item so stated there shall be set the amount of money taxed thereunder; and when the same shall come to the hands of any officer authorized by law to enforce the collection thereof, he shall also itemize all the costs to be added thereto by him for his own services.

(RSMo 1939 § 1435, A. 1949 H.B. 2122)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1271; 1919 § 1723; 1909 § 2292

514.210 - Person to whose use action is brought, liable to pay costs — judgment for costs in such cases, effect of.

When any suit or proceeding, instituted in the name of the state or any county, on the relation or in behalf or for the use of any private person, and where a suit shall be commenced in the name of one person to the use of another, the person for whose use the action is brought shall be held liable to the payment of all costs.And in all such cases, as well where there is security for costs, or where the attorney is liable for the same, judgment for costs shall be rendered against the person for whose use the action is brought, the security or attorney, in like manner and to the same extent as if the suit or proceeding had been instituted in his own name.

(RSMo 1939 § 1421)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1257; 1919 § 1709; 1909 § 2278

514.112 - Assessment of costs when court not notified in timely manner of settlement.

In addition to all other costs which are assessed in civil actions before the circuit courts of this state, whenever a civil action is settled and the circuit court in which such action was set for trial is not notified of such settlement at least two full business days prior to the trial date, all costs incurred by the court and the county in preparing for such trial which are not otherwise recoverable from the parties involved shall be assessed against one or more of the parties as provided in the settlement agreement.All moneys received from costs assessed pursuant to this section shall be county revenue and shall be deposited in the county treasury.

(L. 1985 S.B. 5, et al. § 4)

514.180 - Court may make order for payment of unpaid costs, when.

If a plaintiff who has once dismissed an action in any court commences an action based upon or including the same claim against the same defendant, the court may make an order for the payment of any unpaid costs of the action previously dismissed and may stay the proceedings in the action until the plaintiff has complied with the order.

(L. 1943 p. 353 § 104)

514.080 - Costs, when given in discretion of court.

When any defendant, in any action, shall plead several matters, any of which shall, upon motion joined, be adjudged insufficient, or if a verdict shall be found on any issue in the case for plaintiff, costs shall be given at the discretion of the court.

(RSMo 1939 § 1408, A. 1949 H.B. 2122)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1244; 1919 § 1696; 1909 § 2265

514.280 - Supreme court or appellate court to retax costs, when — order fees refunded.

In all cases of appeal in the supreme court and the court of appeals, it shall be the duty of the court, whenever the transcript of a record shall contain any unnecessary matter had before the inferior court, to retax the bill of costs of the clerk of the inferior court, although no motion for that purpose is made by either party; and when the fees for such unnecessary matter contained in the transcript of the record shall have been paid to the clerk of the inferior court, the appellate court shall order the same to be refunded, which order may be enforced by attachment.

(RSMo 1939 § 1429, A. 1949 H.B. 2122, A.L. 1973 S.B. 263)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1265; 1919 § 1717; 1909 § 2286

514.090 - When one of several counts in a petition bad — costs, how awarded.

Where there are several counts in any petition, and any one of them be adjudged insufficient, or a verdict, or any issue joined thereon, shall be found for the defendant, costs shall be awarded at the discretion of the court.

(RSMo 1939 § 1409)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1245; 1919 § 1697; 1909 § 2266

(1987) For purposes of assessing costs, it is necessary that a plaintiff prevail on the issues which generated the costs, not on any particular claim. Cox v. Crider, 721 S.W.2d 220 (Mo.App.S.D.).

514.190 - Suits by state, adjudication of costs.

In suits upon obligations, bonds, or other specialties, or on contracts, express or implied, made to or with the state, or the governor thereof, or any other person, to the use of the state, or to a county, or the use of a county, and not brought on the relation or in behalf or for the use of any private person, if the plaintiff shall recover any debt or damages, costs shall also be recovered as in other cases; but if such plaintiff suffer a discontinuance, or suit be dismissed, or non prossed, or if a verdict shall be found in favor of the defendant, he shall recover his costs.

(RSMo 1939 § 1419, A. 1949 H.B. 2122)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1255; 1919 § 1707; 1909 § 2276

514.303 - Costs of enforcing judgment, how awarded — how certified.

All costs involved in the execution and sale of property pursuant to judgment, except attorney's fees, may be awarded as judgment in favor of the party incurring such costs, including moving expenses, insurance, storage charges, and any other expenses except for attorney's fees, reasonably incurred as a result of such execution and sale.Creditors shall certify such expenses as true and accurate in an affidavit filed with the court, and shall provide the court with copies of all receipts.The court may then award such costs as it deems reasonable and necessary.