Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Missouri

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After the court of appeals dismissed Appellant's appeal from the circuit court's order overruling its motion, the Supreme Court retransferred this case to the court of appeals to review the underlying merits of the circuit court's order as asserted in Appellant's remaining points on appeal, holding that the circuit court's order was appealable and did not have to be denominated a judgment for an appeal to be taken. The motion at issue was Appellant's "Motion for Order Revoking, or in the Alternative, Modifying and Changing Interlocutory Order Appointing Receiver." The circuit court overruled the motion. The court of appeals dismissed Appellant's appeal because the order was not denominated a judgment pursuant to Rule 74.01(a). The Supreme Court retransferred the case, holding (1) the circuit court's order was appealable pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 515.665 and 512.020(2); and (2) the circuit court's order did not need to be denominated a judgment under Rule 74.01(a) for an appeal to be taken because it was an interlocutory order that did not fully resolve at least one claim and did not establish all of the rights and liabilities of the parties with respect to that claim. View "Meadowfresh Solutions USA, LLC v. Maple Grove Farms, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent a preliminary writ of prohibition it issued directing the circuit court to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against Relators for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that Plaintiff failed to show that Relators were "at home" in Missouri and failed to identify any conduct by Relators in Missouri out of which Plaintiff's claims arose. Plaintiff filed suit against Relators, Kansas business entities, alleging personal injury sustained while working at an apartment complex in Kansas. Relators sought a writ of prohibition on the ground that the circuit court lacked personal jurisdiction over them. The court of appeals overruled the motion. Relators then petitioned the Supreme Court for the same relief. The Supreme Court granted relief, holding (1) Relators were not "at home" in Missouri to such an extent that they were subject to the general jurisdiction of Missouri courts; and (2) Relators' contacts with Missouri were not sufficient to create general or specific jurisdiction on their own. View "State ex rel. Cedar Crest Apartments, LLC v. Honorable Jack Grate" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court dismissing the petition filed by the Missouri Coalition for the Environment and one of its members (collectively, the Coalition) seeking a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against the State and the Clean Water Commission, holding that the Commission lacked standing. In its petition, the Coalition challenged the validity of Mo. Rev. Stat. 644.021, as amended by House Bill No. 1713. The State filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that the Coalition did not have taxpayer standing. The Coalition conceded that it had not shown taxpayer standing but argued that it had standing pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 516.500. The circuit court dismissed the petition with prejudice for lack of standing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 516.500 did not provide standing to the Coalition nor did it eliminate the requirement that the Coalition have standing to bring this action. View "Missouri Coalition for Environment v. State" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals made permanent a preliminary order in mandamus it issued in this action filed by the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri (Curators) seeking to require the circuit court to transfer venue in the underlying action to Boone County, holding that there was no venue in the underlying action in St. Louis County. This writ arose from a declaratory action concerning a Decedent's last will and testament. Hillsdale College filed suit in St. Louis County challenging Curators' administration of the funds of Decedent's trust. Curators filed this petition seeking to transfer the matter to the probate division of the circuit court in Boone County, Curators' usual place of business records where pertaining to the trust were kept. The Court of Appeals granted the writ, holding that because the trust could be registered in Boone County, Boone County was the proper venue for this case. View "State ex rel. Board of Curators of University of Missouri v. Honorable Joseph L. Green" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent a preliminary writ of prohibition preventing the circuit court from continuing to exercise jurisdiction in the underlying case, holding that the circuit court's rulings on certain motions were void. Plaintiff filed a petition against Defendants seeking to reform a deed. The circuit court reformed the deed to specify it transferred developer rights. Non-parties to the underlying action then filed a motion to intervene and a motion to set aside the reformation judgment. The circuit court granted both motions and vacated the reformation judgment. Plaintiff petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court issued a preliminary writ, which it made permanent, holding that the circuit court lost jurisdiction in the underlying action thirty days after entering final judgment, and therefore, the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to rule on the motion to intervene and the motion to set aside. View "State ex rel. AJKJ, Inc. v. Honorable Craig E. Hellmann" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent a preliminary writ of mandamus requiring Respondent to transfer the underlying declaratory judgment action from Greene County to Pulaski County, holding that Greene County was an improper venue because none of the defendants in the underlying action resided in Greene County. An automobile accident that killed Juanita Prater occurred in Pulaski County. Relators filed a wrongful death action against the driver of the other car, Dakota Ball, in Pulaski County. Ronald Prater filed a personal injury action against Ball in Pulaski County. The parties later agreed to transfer the wrongful death and personal injury action to Greene County. USAA General Indemnity Company filed a declaratory judgment action in Greene County seeking a declaration that the auto policy it issued to Ball's stepmother did not cover Ball. None of the defendants resided in Greene County. After unsuccessfully filing a motion to transfer venue, Relators filed a petition for a writ of mandamus or prohibition. The Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus, holding that the circuit court failed to execute its ministerial duty to transfer the declaratory judgment action from Greene County to a proper venue. View "State ex rel. Prater v. Honorable Jason R. Brown" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court awarding Matthew Vacca actual and punitive damages, including substantial future lost wages, on his claim that he was retaliated against for filing a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging disability discrimination, holding that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to apply judicial estoppel to Vacca’s claim of future lost wages. The circuit court found Vacca claimed in this case that he could have continued to work as an administrative law judge (ALJ) for twenty more years. In Vacca’s ongoing dissolution proceeding, however, he claimed he was entitled to maintenance because he was totally unable to work due to his disability. The circuit court concluded that it was barred from applying judicial estoppel because the dissolution judgment had been remanded for further proceedings based on evidentiary errors. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) once a party takes inconsistent positions, there are no fixed prerequisites to application of judicial estoppel; and (2) the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to apply judicial estoppel to preclude Vacca from making the inconsistent claim that he was able to work as an ALJ for another twenty years with reasonable accommodations. View "Vacca v. Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, Division of Workers' Compensation" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent preliminary writs of prohibition preventing the circuit court from taking any further action other than to sever Michael Blaes’ claims from the separate claims made by multiple plaintiffs in the underlying case pending in St. Louis City and to transfer Blaes’ claims to St. Louis County, holding that venue was proper in St. Louis County. In the Swann action, Plaintiffs filed suit against Relators in St. Louis City alleging that they or their decedents developed ovarian cancer from using products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson with talc provided by Imerys Talc America, Inc. Blaes, whose wife died of ovarian cancer, was named as a plaintiff in the first amended petition. The circuit court subsequently designated Blaes’ claims for a separate trial. Relators renewed previously filed motions to sever and transfer for improper venue, which the circuit court overruled. Relators then sought writs of prohibition arguing venue in St. Louis City was improper and seeking to compel the circuit court to transfer Blaes’ separate claims to the proper venue in St. Louis County. The Court issued writs of prohibition, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion in overruling Relators’ motions to sever Blaes’ claims and transfer the to St. Louis County, where Blaes’ wife was first injured. View "State ex rel. Johnson & Johnson v. Honorable Rex M. Burlison" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent the preliminary writ of mandamus directing Respondent, the Honorable Jodie Asel, to enter a judgment in Jennifer Henderson’s case against the Business Loop Community Improvement District, Tom May, and Carrie Gartner (collectively, Defendants), holding that a writ of mandamus is an appropriate remedy to compel Respondent to sign and file a judgment resolving Henderson’s claims. Henderson filed suit against Defendants asserting claims challenging the results of a sales tax election. Respondent sustained Defendants’ motion to dismiss and dismissed the cause without prejudice. Henderson then filed a motion for Respondent to denominate the dismissal order a “judgment” so she could appeal. The motion was overruled. Henderson later petitioned the court of appeals for a writ directing Respondent to denominate the dismissal order a judgment. The court of appeals denied the petition, and Henderson then petitioned the Supreme Court for the same relief. The Court issued a preliminary writ of mandamus, which it made permanent, holding that because the dismissal order was intended to resolve all of Henderson’s claims against Defendants it was a judgment and must be denominated as such. View "State ex rel. Henderson v. Honorable Jodie Asel" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court overruling Unifund CCR Partners Assignee of Citibank (South Dakota) N.A.’s motion for revival of judgment on grounds it was filed out of time, holding that the motion was timely filed. On June 28, 2005 the circuit court entered a default judgment in favor of Unifund and against William Abright. Unified served garnishments on Abright’s employer, who paid the garnished funds into the circuit court registry, and the last payment into the registry was made July 26, 2007. On July 17, 2017, Unifund filed a motion for revival of the judgment against Abright. The circuit court overruled the motion as untimely. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Unifund’s July 17, 2017 motion to revive the judgment was timely filed within ten years of the last prior revival of the judgment on July 26, 2007. View "Unifund CCR Partners, Assignee of Citibank (South Dakota) N.A. v. Abright" on Justia Law