Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Kansas Supreme Court
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The case involves David Moeller, who was convicted of securities fraud after deceiving an acquaintance into investing $9,500 in a non-existent business. Moeller appealed his conviction, but died during the appeal process. The Court of Appeals, applying the precedent set in State v. Hollister, ruled that Moeller's death did not render his appeal moot and affirmed his conviction and sentence. Moeller's defense counsel petitioned for review, arguing that the court should overrule Hollister and that the panel erred in concluding his conviction was supported by sufficient evidence.The Supreme Court of the State of Kansas affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and the district court. The court held that under the doctrine of stare decisis, it would continue to adhere to Hollister, which establishes that the death of a criminal defendant during the appeal of his or her conviction does not automatically abate the appeal but may render some issues moot. The court found that Hollister was not originally erroneous and that more good than harm would come from adhering to it. The court also held that the State presented sufficient evidence to support Moeller's conviction for securities fraud. The court concluded that Moeller's conduct constituted fraud or deceit and that the transaction between Moeller and the victim involved the sale of a security in the form of an investment contract. View "State v. Moeller" on Justia Law

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The case revolves around a dispute over the ownership of a purebred show dog named Oscar. The parties involved are Oscar's breeder, Elizabeth "Betsy" Shauck, and Dave Jennings and Emily McLeod, who have raised Oscar since he was a puppy. Dave and Emily filed a petition to quiet title to Oscar against Betsy, who counterclaimed for breach of contract, replevin, conversion, for a restraining order and preliminary injunction, and to quiet title. Betsy's preliminary injunction counterclaim asked the district court to prevent Dave and Emily from harboring Oscar and to order his immediate return to her.The district court held a three-day hearing, which was supposed to be on Betsy's request for a preliminary injunction. However, the court expanded the scope of the hearing and made findings of fact and conclusions of law on the merits of all issues pending in the underlying lawsuit, including Oscar's ownership, contract disputes, and damages. Dave and Emily appealed this decision, arguing that the district court denied their due process rights by deciding the case on the merits when it had only set the hearing on Betsy's preliminary injunction.The Kansas Court of Appeals panel held that the district court violated Dave and Emily's due process rights by expanding the scope of the hearing without notice. However, instead of remanding the case, the panel analyzed the parties' ownership interests in Oscar and held that Dave and Betsy co-owned Oscar. Betsy then petitioned the Supreme Court of the State of Kansas for review.The Supreme Court of the State of Kansas affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the panel. The court agreed with the panel that the district court erred by expanding the scope of the hearing on Betsy's request for a preliminary injunction. The court found that the district court's decision to consolidate the hearing on Betsy's request for a preliminary injunction with a trial on the case's merits without informing the parties was a denial of due process and an error of law. The court also agreed with the panel's conclusion that the district court's failure prejudiced Dave and Emily. However, the court held that the panel erred by addressing the case's merits after correctly concluding that the district court erred. The court reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Jennings v. Shauck" on Justia Law

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Tracey Murray and the Estate of Robert Murray filed a lawsuit against Miracorp, Inc., NTTS, Inc., Lane Goebel, and Shane Goebel, alleging both legal and equitable claims based on conduct that took place before 2012. The Murrays claimed that they were shareholders in Miracorp and that the company and its officers had breached fiduciary duties, committed fraud, and unjustly enriched themselves at the Murrays' expense. The Murrays also alleged that Miracorp had converted their property and misappropriated trade secrets.The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Miracorp, ruling that the Murrays' claims were barred by the applicable statutes of limitations. The court found that the Murrays' injuries were reasonably ascertainable in 2011, and thus, the period for filing a lawsuit had expired. The Murrays appealed this decision.The Kansas Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's decision. The appellate court agreed that the Murrays' claims were time-barred because their injuries were reasonably ascertainable in 2011. The court held that the Murrays had waited too long to investigate and seek redress for their injuries.The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the lower courts. The court held that the Murrays had a duty to reasonably investigate their suspicions in 2011. The court found that the Murrays did nothing to investigate their suspicions until 2016, which was unreasonable. As a result, the court ruled that the Murrays' claims were barred by the statute of limitations. View "Murray v. Miracorp, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court of the State of Kansas has upheld the decision of the lower courts in a case involving a plaintiff, Jason Unruh, who alleged that the City of Wichita police officers used excessive force during his arrest. The plaintiff was apprehended after leading police on a car chase and was subsequently subdued while attempting to collect drugs that had spilled onto the ground. Nearly 23 months later, the plaintiff sued for personal injuries, alleging that the officers negligently used excessive force during his arrest. The case focused on whether the plaintiff's claim was for civil battery, which has a one-year statute of limitations, or negligence, which has a longer time limit. The court found that the plaintiff's claim was essentially a battery claim since the officers intentionally used force to make a lawful arrest. The court further clarified that negligence and battery are distinct legal concepts with different elements. The court noted that a negligence claim requires proof of a legally recognized duty that the defendant breached, causing the plaintiff's injuries. The plaintiff failed to establish that the officers owed him a special duty independent of the force used. As such, the plaintiff's claim was time-barred under the one-year statute of limitations for battery. The court affirmed the judgments of the lower courts. View "Unruh v. City of Wichita" on Justia Law

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In this consolidated workers compensation appeal arising from disputes between EagleMed, LLC, a critical care transportation service, and Travelers Insurance, a workers compensation insurance carrier, the Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals' judgment directing the Workers Compensation Appeals Board to dismiss this proceeding, holding that remand was required.49 U.S.C. 41713(b)(1) prohibits states from enacting or enforcing any law related to a service of an air carrier providing air transportation. Kan. Stat. Ann. 44-510i(c)(2) requires the Director of the Division of Workers Compensation to oversee health care provider services to ensure charges are "fair, reasonable, and necessary." At issue was the phrase "usual and customary charges." The Board decided it lacked jurisdiction to determine the reasonableness of air ambulance charges that would reduce the amount owed, made no factual determination whether the disputed billings were "usual and customary charges," and ordered Travelers to pay in full. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court vacated the panel's decision and the Board's order that Travelers pay EagleMed in full and remanded the case for the Board to decide whether the charges were "usual and customary," holding that the Board will need to interpret this term in a manner reflecting both federal law and the state's legislative purposes. View "EagleMed v. Travelers Insurance" on Justia Law

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In this criminal case, the Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the district court and the court of appeals concluding that Kansas did not have "proximate result" jurisdiction under Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-5106, holding that the lower courts erred in interpreting and applying section 21-5106.At issue was whether Kansas had territorial jurisdiction to prosecute Defendant for insurance fraud and making a false information where Defendant committed no acts related to those charges while physically in the state. The district court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the State presented sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that Defendant's actions caused a consequence or effect in Kansas close enough in time or cause to the alleged criminal acts to qualify as a proximate result allowing Kansas to exercise jurisdiction. View "State v. Rozell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of a federal district court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants on Plaintiff's federal claims and declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over her state law claims, holding that the doctrine of res judicata did not prevent Plaintiff from bringing the state law claims in state court.Plaintiff sued the City of Wichita and one of its police officers in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, alleging federal civil rights violations and state law tort claims. The federal district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants on the federal claims and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims. Plaintiff refiled her state law claims in Sedgwick County District Court, which held that Plaintiff's state law claims were barred by res judicata. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that when a federal court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims and dismisses those claims without prejudice, there has been no final judgment on those state law claims, and res judicata does not preclude a litigant from bringing those claims in state court. View "Herington v. City of Wichita" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions for rape, criminal threat, sexual battery, and battery, holding that, even if Defendant was correct that rape is essentially a strict liability crime, he failed to establish that this would violate his due process rights.Before the Supreme Court, Defendant argued that the Kansas rape statute - and by extension the jury instruction mirroring the statute - effectively rendered rape a strict liability crime. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, even assuming Defendant was correct that Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-5503(e) effectively rendered rape a strict liability crime in Kansas, he failed to show that this was a violation of his right to due process or outside the legislature's authority to draft criminal laws. View "State v. Thomas" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated its decision reversing the judgment of both the court of appeals and district court concluding that the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) did not preempt Defendant's prosecution for identity theft and making false information, holding that, in accordance with the decision of the United States Supreme Court on certiorari in this case, Defendant's prosecution was not preempted by the IRCA.A district court judge found Defendant guilty after denying his motion to dismiss charges based on representations in his W-4 employment form. On appeal, Defendant argued that the IRCA preempted identify theft and making false information prosecutions. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, concluding that IRCA preempted Defendant's prosecutions. The United State Supreme Court granted certiorari and held that state law prosecutions for identity theft and making false information were not preempted by the IRCA. The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed in accordance with the decision of the United States Supreme Court. View "State v. Morales" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated its decision reversing the lower courts' conclusions that the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) did not preempt Defendant's prosecution for identity theft, holding that, in accordance with the decision of the United States Supreme Court on certiorari in this case, Defendant's prosecution was not preempted by the IRCA.A district court judge found Defendant guilty after denying his motion to dismiss charges based on representations in his W-4 employment form and I-9 form. On appeal, Defendant argued that the IRCA preempted identify theft prosecutions. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, concluding that IRCA preempted Defendant's prosecution. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari and held that state law prosecutions for identity theft were not preempted by the IRCA. The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed in accordance with the decision of the United States Supreme Court. View "State v. Garcia" on Justia Law