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Daily Opinion Summaries for the Missouri Supreme Court by Justia

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  • 07/04/12--12:40: Harpagon MO, LLC v. Bosch
  • This was an appeal from the circuit court's entry of summary judgment quieting title to certain property in favor of Edward and Nancy Bosch. Harpagon MO, LLC asserted that the circuit court should have entered summary judgment in its favor because it c... Continue reading

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    In 2008, St. Louis County (County) assumed control of solid waste collection in County's unincorporated areas. Prior to that, waste collection services had been provided by private entities, including respondent Haulers. Following a 2007 amendment to M... Continue reading

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  • 07/31/12--20:25: Kieffer v. Icaza
  • Appellant and Respondents entered into a lease agreement for a residence to be used by one of Respondents. Appellant later filed a petition for breach of contract and property damage against Respondents, claiming they had breached the terms of the leas... Continue reading

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    Ruth Mendenhall appealed a summary judgment in favor of Property and Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford on her equitable garnishment claim seeking insurance coverage for the death of her husband, Len Mendenhall. The trial court's judgment was premised on the conclusion that Len was an "employee" under the terms of the Hartford policy and, therefore, was excluded from coverage. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court, holding that, given the facts of this case and the policy language, Len was not an "employee" but was instead a "temporary worker" subject to coverage under the terms of the Hartford policy. View "Mendenhall v. Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. of Hartford" on Justia Law Continue reading

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    Whelan Security Company appealed a trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Charles Kennebrew and W. Landon Morgan on its action to enforce the non-compete agreements it had with Kennebrew and Morgan. On appeal, Whelan claimed that the trial... Continue reading

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    A construction crane owned and operated by a construction company (Jacobsmeyer) fell on a building. Jacobsmeyer's insurer (Travelers) reached a settlement agreement with the designer and manufacturer of the crane (Grove) wherein Grove agreed to pay Jac... Continue reading

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    Appellants lost their home in a foreclosure sale. When Appellants failed to vacate the home, Wells Fargo Bank, the foreclosure purchaser, sued for unlawful detainer. Appellants raised equitable defenses and counterclaims concerning the validity of Well... Continue reading

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    Plaintiffs filed suit against West County Motor Company for violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) and for conversion. Each plaintiff paid a deposit to West County to secure the purchase of a vehicle and signed a vehicle buyer's o... Continue reading

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    Plaintiff's young son was injured by an uninsured motorist while he was a passenger in his daycare provider's van. Plaintiff filed a petition on behalf of her son against the daycare provider's insurance company, Shelter Mutual, alleging that her child... Continue reading

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  • 06/11/13--18:16: Johnson v. JF Enters., LLC
  • In 2007, Anita Johnson purchased a vehicle from a dealership operated by JF Enterprises. Johnson signed numerous documents at a single sitting, including a retail installment contract and a one-page arbitration agreement. In 2010, Johnson sued the deal... Continue reading

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    Plaintiff rented a garden tiller from Home Depot by signing a tool rental agreement. Plaintiff subsequently filed a class-action lawsuit against Home Depot, claiming that it violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) by automatically incl... Continue reading

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    A class of Plaintiffs brought suit against Insured, a hotel proprietor, alleging that Insured violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The class and Insured subsequently reached a settlement. The class then filed a garnishment action agai... Continue reading

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    Franklin Quick Cash, LLC, a payday and title lending company, was sued for wrongfully repossessing a vehicle. Franklin had a commercial general liability insurance policy with Continental Western Insurance Co. that covered liability for accidents but precluded coverage of liability for property damage “expected or intended” by the insured. Continental Western refused to provide a defense on the grounds that Franklin’s actions leading to the suit were intentional. Franklin sued Continental Western for wrongful refusal to defend. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Franklin. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Continental Western did not have a duty to defend because Franklin intended to repossess the vehicle, and therefore, there was no potential for coverage at the outset of the underlying lawsuit. View "Allen vs. Continental W. Ins. Co." on Justia Law Continue reading

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    Patrick O’Basuyi filed suit against several defendants (collectively, “TriStar”) for breach of contract, quantum meruit and fraudulent conveyance. TriStar responded by filing a counterclaim for malicious prosecution. O’Basuyi filed a motion for separate trial of TriStar’s counterclaims. The trial court overruled the motion for separate trial, determining that Mo. R. Civ. P. 55.06, which governs joinder of claims, authorized its denial of O’Basuyi’s motion for separate trial of the malicious prosecution claim. O’Basuyi subsequently sought a writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court granted the request writ, holding (1) Rule 55.06 does not permit either joinder or trial of a malicious prosecution counterclaim with the underlying claim; and (2) therefore, the trial court erred in permitting the joint trial of the defendants’ counterclaim and O’Basuyi’s claims. View "State ex rel. O'Basuyi v. Hon. David Lee Vincent III" on Justia Law Continue reading

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  • 08/19/14--20:25: Baker v. Bristol Care, Inc.
  • When Respondent was promoted from her position was an hourly employee to a salaried managerial position at one of Appellants’ long-term care facilities, the parties signed an employment agreement and arbitration agreement. Appellants later terminated Respondent from her position. Respondent filed a class action lawsuit against Appellants seeking compensation for allegedly unpaid overtime hours. Appellants filed a motion to compel arbitration, but the circuit court overruled the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Respondent’s continued at-will employment and Appellants’ promise to resolve claims through arbitration did not provide valid consideration to support the arbitration agreement. View "Baker v. Bristol Care, Inc." on Justia Law Continue reading

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  • 09/09/14--21:36: Lewellen v. Franklin
  • Lillian Lewellen brought an action against Chad Franklin National Auto Sales North, LLC (National) and its owner, Chad Franklin, for fraudulent misrepresentation and unlawful merchandising practices under the Missouri Merchandising Practice Act. A jury awarded Lewellen actual damages of $25,000, assessed jointly and severally against both defendants. The jury also awarded Lewellen $1 million in punitive damages against Franklin and National on both counts. Pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 510.265, the circuit court reduced the punitive damages awards against Franklin and National to $500,000 and $539,050, respectively. Lewellen appealed her punitive damages award, claiming that her constitutional right to trial by jury was violated when the trial court reduced the punitive damages award on her fraudulent misrepresentation claim against Franklin. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment in all respects except for the portion applying section 510.265 to the punitive damages award assessed against Franklin for fraudulent misrepresentation, holding that the mandatory reduction of Lewellen’s punitive damages award against Franklin under section 510.265 violated Lewellen’s right to a trial by jury. View "Lewellen v. Franklin" on Justia Law Continue reading

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    In 2000, Plaintiff purchased a lot in a subdivision being developed by Markirk Construction, Inc., of which Kirk Jones was president. The next year, Plaintiff completed construction of a home on the lot. In 2009, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants, alleging fraudulent misrepresentation in connection with the negotiation and sale of the lot. The jury found in favor of Jones. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in instructing the jury that it had to find Jones knew that the alleged misrepresentations were false when he made them. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly instructed the jury that Defendant’s alleged representations concerned future events, and therefore, in order for Plaintiff to recover, Jones must have made these representations with knowledge when they were made that the representations were false. View "Stevens v. Markirk Construction, Inc." on Justia Law

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    Randy Spalding filed suit against Stewart Title Guaranty Company, alleging breach of contract and vexatious refusal to pay in regard to a title insurance policy. After a jury trial, the circuit court entered an amended judgment in favor of Spalding. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in (1) overruling Stewart Title’s motions for directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict where the title insurance policy was not time barred and where Spalding made a submissible case as to the existence and amount of the damages for the breach of contract; (2) refusing to give Stewart Title’s proposed instruction concerning its statute of limitations defense; (3) admitting evidence from an appraiser in regard to damages sustained from the title defect under the policy; and (4) giving a certain jury instruction regarding the measure of damages. View "Spalding v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co." on Justia Law

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  • 05/26/15--20:20: Eaton v. CMH Homes, Inc.
  • Plaintiff purchased a manufactured home from Defendant. The contract between Plaintiff and Defendant included an arbitration clause. Plaintiff later sued Defendant alleging fraud, negligence, breach of contract, and negligent misrepresentation. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss or to stay the court action and to compel arbitration. Plaintiff opposed arbitration, arguing that the arbitration agreement lacked mutuality and was unconscionable on multiple grounds. The trial court overruled Defendant’s motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the agreement’s “anti-waiver clause” was unconscionable and invalid, but the anti-waiver provision could be severed; (2) Plaintiff’s remaining objections did not render the contract as a whole unconscionable; and (3) absent the anti-waiver clause, the contract was not unconscionable. View "Eaton v. CMH Homes, Inc." on Justia Law

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  • 04/19/16--13:47: Hunter v. Moore
  • Plaintiff brought a negligence action against Defendant and Defendant's employer, a motel, to recover for injuries Plaintiff sustained while staying at the motel. The parties entered a settlement agreement, but the parties disputed some terms of the agreement. Plaintiff filed a separate action against Defendant seeking specific performance and reformation of the written instrument and asking the court to add to disputed terms that Plaintiff claimed the parties agreed to but mistakenly failed to reduce to writing. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff and reformed the written agreement to require Defendant to preclude Defendant’s insurer from controlling the defense of Plaintiff’s negligence claims and to cooperate with Plaintiff in the negligence action “either by agreeing to a consent judgment or having an uncontested hearing on liability and damages.” The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment as modified, holding that there was substantial evidence to support the trial court’s judgment reforming the written instrument to include the disputed terms but that the parties did not intend for Defendant to enter a consent judgment. View "Hunter v. Moore" on Justia Law

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