Justia Missouri Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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When Plaintiff’s utility terrain vehicle (UTV) overturned the roof of the UTV failed and caused Plaintiff injuries. Plaintiff sued Chesterfield Valley Sports, Inc. (Defendant). Prior to trial, Plaintiff designated Herbert Newbold as an expert witness. Plaintiff then rescinded Newbold’s expert witness designation without disclosing Newbold’s expert analysis or conclusions. Thereafter, Defendant filed a motion to amend the scheduling order to permit Newbold’s deposition. Plaintiff objected, asserting that Newbold’s opinions and conclusions were protected from discovery by the work product doctrine. The trial court sustained Defendant’s motion, concluding that Plaintiff had waived the protections afforded by the work product doctrine by designating Newbold as an expert witness. Plaintiff subsequently filed the instant petition for a writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court issued a preliminary writ of prohibition, which it made permanent, holding (1) designating an expert witness does not, standing alone, irrevocably waive the protections afforded by the work product doctrine; and (2) in this case, there was no disclosing event that waived the work product privilege. View "State ex rel. Malashock v. Honorable Michael T. Jamison" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of second-degree burglary and stealing. The convictions were affirmed on direct appeal. Thereafter, Defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that his counsel was ineffective for failing to request an instruction on the lesser-included offense of trespass as an alternative instruction to second-degree burglary. The circuit court overruled Defendant’s motion following an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that counsel’s performance did not fall below an objective standard of reasonableness under the performance prong of Strickland v. Washington and that there was no need to address the prejudice prong. View "McNeal v. State" on Justia Law

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Heartland Title Services, Inc. filed a petition in the circuit court of Jackson County alleging professional malpractice claims against Paul Hasty and Hasty and Associates, LLC (collectively, Hasty). Hasty filed a motion to dismiss Heartland’s professional malpractice claim for lack of venue, arguing that the tort injury alleged occurred outside Missouri. The circuit court dismissed the count for lack of venue. Heartland sought relief in the Supreme Court with this original proceeding in mandamus. The Supreme Court issued a preliminary writ and then made permanent the preliminary writ, holding that venue was proper in any county in Missouri, including Jackson County. View "State ex rel. Heartland Title Services, Inc. v. Honorable Kevin D. Harrell" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed an action against St. Anthony’s Medical Center alleging that St. Anthony’s provided negligent medical care that caused him to develop a stage IV pressure ulcer. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff and awarded him $883,000 in compensatory damages. The trial court entered its judgment without post-judgment interest. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that he was entitled to post-judgment interest pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 408.040.1. St. Anthony cross-appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in entering its judgment without post-judgment interest; (2) the trial court’s application of Mo. Rev. Stat. 538.300 to deny Plaintiff post-judgment interest did not violate Plaintiff’s constitutional rights; and (3) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in overruling St. Anthony’s motion for remittitur of damages. View "Dieser v. St. Anthony's Medical Center" on Justia Law
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Gate Gourmet, Inc. owns and operates a facility near the Lambert-St. Louis International airport from which it sells frozen meals to various commercial airlines. Gate Gourmet filed sales tax returns for the tax years 2008-2010 in which it reported sales of frozen meals to its airline customers at the reduced sales tax rate of one percent as provided in Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.014. After an audit, the Director of Revenue issued sales tax assessments to Gate Gourmet totaling $296,357, concluding that the sale of airline meals should have been taxed at four percent under Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.020. The Administrative Hearing Commission upheld the Director’s determination. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission’s decision was based upon a proper construction of the law and was supported by competent and substantial evidence. View "Gate Gourmet, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was injured after she slipped and fell in a bathroom on the premises of Cass Regional Medical Center (Defendant). Plaintiff filed a petition for damages against Defendant, and the case was tried to a jury. The jury returned a verdict for Defendant. After trial, Plaintiff’s attorney discovered that one of the jurors had Googled the weather for the day of Plaintiff’s fall. Plaintiff subsequently filed a motion for a new trial, alleging juror misconduct. The trial court overruled Plaintiff’s motion, concluding that the presumption of prejudice had been rebutted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Plaintiff was not prejudiced by the juror’s misconduct based on the testimony of the non-offending jurors and the record as a whole. View "Smotherman v. Cass Regional Medical Center" on Justia Law
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This case centered around Amendment No. 3, a constitutional amendment proposed by initiative petition. After the Secretary of State certified Amendment No. 3 for the November 8, 2016 general election ballot, various individuals (collectively, “Opponents”) brought three separate cases pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 116.200.1 seeking to reverse this decision. The trial court entered judgment against the Opponents. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the proponents submitted a sufficient number of valid signatures in support of the amendment to qualify for the ballot; (2) the amendment does not, on its face, amend or create more than one article of the Missouri Constitution; (3) the amendment does not violate the constitutional prohibition against appropriation by initiative; and (4) the remainder of the Opponents’ substantive challenges were premature. View "Boeving v. Kander" on Justia Law

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Brentwood Glass filed a petition against the County and several other defendants, asserting, inter alia, a mechanic’s lien claim against all defendants for unpaid work on a construction project and an action against St. Louis County for failing to require a public works construction bond mandated by Mo. Rev. Stat. 107.170. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on the mechanic’s lien claim. The County also asserted it was entitled to summary judgment on the bond claim because section 107.170 did not apply. The circuit court entered judgment in favor of Defendants.The Supreme Court reversed judgment on the mechanic’s lien claim and affirmed in all other respects, holding (1) the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment on the lien claim for lack of proof of notice, and genuine issues of material fact existed preventing summary judgment on the lien claim; and (2) judgment was proper on Brentwood Glass’s bond claim against the County. View "Brentwood Glass Co. v. Pal's Glass Serv., Inc." on Justia Law
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After discovering that petroleum from a service station’s underground storage tank had leaked and contaminated soil in the City of Harrisonville, the City filed a petition for damages against McCall Service Stations, the service station’s previous owner; Fleming Petroleum Corporation, the service station’s current owner; and the Missouri Petroleum Storage Tank Insurance Fund. The jury returned verdicts in favor of the City on all counts and awarded the City both compensatory and punitive damages against the defendants. Thereafter, the circuit court remitted the punitive damages award against the Fund. The Supreme Court reversed the punitive damages award against the Fund and affirmed in all other respects, holding (1) because the City failed to allege cognizable claims against the Fund for actual or compensatory damages, it also cannot recover punitive damages against the Fund; but (2) the compensatory damages awarded against the Fund is not reversed because the Fund did not seek relief from that compensatory damages award. View "City of Harrisonville v. McCall Serv. Stations" on Justia Law
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After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his challenge during voir dire to one of the prosecutor’s peremptory strikes under Batson v. Kentucky because the prosecutor failed to offer a race-neutral explanation for striking the venireperson. The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s convictions, holding that the trial court clearly erred in denying Defendant’s Batson challenge where the prosecutor failed to offer a reasonably specific and clear race-neutral explanation for the strike. Remanded. View "State v. Meeks" on Justia Law