Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Missouri
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The Supreme Court made permanent its preliminary writ of mandamus compelling the circuit court to transfer the underlying lawsuit to St. Charles County, holding that the circuit court had no authority to change venue and transfer the case from St. Charles County to St. Louis County. Universal Credit Acceptance, Inc. (UCA) filed the underlying lawsuit in St. Charles County seeking to recover a judgment arising from Renwick Ware's alleged default on a retail sales installment contract. After the associate circuit division sustained Ware's application for change of judge, Ware filed a motion to change the venue to St. Louis County. The circuit court sustained the motion and transferred the case to St. Louis County. UCA filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, arguing that, pursuant to Rule 51.06(a), Ware waived the right to file a motion to change venue because the motion was not consolidated with his application for change of judge. The Supreme Court issued a preliminary writ that it made permanent, holding that Ware's motion to change venue was improper under Rule 51.06(a), and therefore, UCA demonstrated a clear and unequivocal right to have the case retransferred to St. Charles County. View "State ex rel. Universal Credit Acceptance, Inc. v. Honorable Reno" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent a preliminary writ sought by LG Chem, Ltd. to prohibit the circuit court from enforcing its over overruling LG Chem's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that due process prohibited Missouri courts from asserting personal jurisdiction over LG Chem in this matter. LG Chem, a Korean company with its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, manufactured model 18650 lithium-ion batteries. Peter Bishop sued LG Chem in the St. Louis County circuit court alleging that he purchased one of LG Chem's batteries in a store located in St. Peters, Missouri for use in his e-cigarette. Bishop alleged that the battery spontaneously exploded in his pocket, resulting in burn injuries. LG filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The circuit court overruled the motion on the merits. LG then sought a writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court issued a preliminary writ of prohibition. The Court then made its preliminary writ permanent with directions to the circuit court to vacate its order overruling LG Chem's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that LG Chem lacked sufficient minimum contacts with the state of Missouri, and therefore, the assertion of personal jurisdiction over LG Chem would violate due process. View "State ex rel. LG Chem, Ltd. v. Honorable McLaughlin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed these appeals for lack of jurisdiction because neither appeal challenged a "final judgment" as that phrase is used in Mo. Rev. Stat. 512.020(5). The treasurer appealed from a declaratory order. The State appealed from a circuit court order sustaining a motion for summary judgment on the State's cross-claim and also appealed from an injunctive order. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeals for lack of jurisdiction, holding (1) the declaratory order was not a judgment, let alone a final judgment; and (2) neither of the two orders that the State appealed from was a final judgment as that phrase is used in section 512.020(5) in that neither disposed of a "judicial unit" of claims. View "Wilson v. City of St. Louis" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent a preliminary writ of prohibition prohibiting the Jefferson County circuit court from taking any further action except to transfer the underlying action to Cole County, where venue was proper. Jefferson County 9-1-1 Dispatch filed this declaratory judgment action against the Director of the Missouri Department of Revenue in the Jefferson County circuit court seeking a declaration as to the meaning of subsections 5 and 6 of Mo. Rev. Stat. 190.460 and to enjoin the Director from applying section 190.460 to Dispatch. The Director filed a motion to change venue to the Cole County circuit court alleging that Cole County was the proper venue pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 508.010.2, the general venue statute. The circuit court overruled the Director's motion. The Director then filed a petition for a writ of prohibition in the court of appeals, which ultimately denied the writ. The Director then sought a writ of prohibition from the Supreme Court. The Court issued a preliminary writ, which it made permanent, holding that venue was improper in Jefferson County and proper in Cole County. View "State ex rel. Zellers v. Honorable Stacey" on Justia Law

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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