Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Missouri

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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

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The Supreme Court made permanent a preliminary writ of prohibition to prevent the circuit court from taking any further action other than ordering Plaintiffs’ legal malpractice action to be transferred from St. Louis City to St. Charles County, holding that the circuit court exceeded its authority in issuing a ruling on Relators’ motion to transfer after the statutory ninety-day period expired. Plaintiffs filed a legal malpractice action against Relators and alleged venue was proper in St. Louis City. Relators moved to transfer for improper venue, contending that Plaintiffs were first injured in St. Charles County. The circuit court overruled Relators’ motion. Relators filed a writ of prohibition with the Supreme Court seeking to compel the circuit court to transfer the cause to St. Charles County. The Supreme Court issued a preliminary writ of prohibition, ordering the circuit court to take no further action in this matter. The Supreme Court then made permanent the writ, holding that the circuit court lacked authority to do anything other than transfer the cause to St. Charles County because the circuit court’s failure to rule upon Relators’ motion to transfer within the ninety-day period under Mo. Rev. Stat. 508.010.10 resulted in Relators’ motion being deemed granted. View "State ex rel. HeplerBroom, LLC v. Honorable Joan L. Moriarty" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent its preliminary writ of prohibition sought by PPG Industries, Inc. directing the circuit court to dismiss the underlying claim against it for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction over PPG. Hillboldt Curtainwall, Inc. sued PPG, a Pennsylvania-based corporation that made a product coating aluminum extrusions, for negligent misrepresentation based on PPG’s online representation on its website that Finishing dynamics as an “approved excursion applicator.” PPG filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, asserting that its website was insufficient to render it subject to the state’s personal jurisdiction. The circuit court overruled the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court granted a writ of prohibition, holding (1) because there was no tortious act within the state, the circuit court lacked personal jurisdiction over PPG; and (2) therefore, the circuit court should have sustained PPG’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. View "State ex rel. PPG Industries, Inc. v. Honorable Maura B. McShane" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s judgment dismissing the the claims filed by the Board of Trustees of the Missouri Petroleum Storage Tank insurance Fund, by and through the Missouri attorney general (collectively, the State), against Pilot Travel Centers, LLC, holding that the appeal was timely and that the attorney general had authority to file this action on behalf of the Board. The State brought this action claiming breach of contract and, in the alternative, unjust enrichment. The circuit court sustained Pilot’s motion to dismiss for lack of standing, concluding that neither the Board nor the attorney general had authority to bring this lawsuit. The State appealed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) under the procedural posture of this case, the State’s appeal was timely; and (2) the attorney general is authorized to sue Pilot on behalf of the Board under Mo. Rev. Stat. 27.060, and the Board had standing to sue Pilot for breach of contract. View "State ex rel. Attorney General v. Pilot Travel Centers, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent a preliminary writ of prohibition sought by Relators prohibiting Respondent, the Honorable James F. Kanatzar, from taking any action other than granting their motion to dismiss the underlying wrongful death suit as barred by the statute of limitations. After Plaintiffs filed wrongful death claims against Relators, Relators filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the claims were time-barred under the three-year statute of limitations in Mo. Rev. Stat. 537.100 and the savages provision was not applicable. The circuit court overruled the motion to dismiss. Thereafter, Relators filed a petition for writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that because Plaintiffs’ third action was not filed within one year of the nonsuit of their first action - the only action filed within the limitations period - the savings provision did not apply and the third suit was time-barred. View "State ex rel. Goldsworthy v. Honorable James F. Kanatzar" on Justia Law