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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 reversed the judgment of the circuit court entering summary judgment in favor Insured in this insurance coverage dispute, holding that the circuit court erred in finding that Insured was entitled to underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage under three insurance policies Insured maintained with Insurer after the death of her daughter (Decedent). When Driver crashed the vehicle she was driving, Decedent, the passenger, sustained fatal injuries. Insured asserted a wrongful death claim against Driver, and Driver settled the claim for her insurance policy's limits. Thereafter, Insured sought UIM coverage from Insurer. Insurer provided UIM coverage pursuant to one of the insurance policies, but Insurer denied UIM coverage under the other two insurance policies. Insured then brought this suit seeking a declaration that UIM coverage existed for Decedent and alleging breach of contract. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Insured. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that under the plain language of two of the policies at issue, Decedent was not an insured entitled to UIM coverage. View "Seaton v. Shelter Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court quashed preliminary writs issued preventing the circuit court from enforcing its orders sustaining motions to compel arbitration and stay proceedings filed by Dollar General, holding that the circuit court properly sustained Dollar General's motions to compel arbitration, stayed the cases, and ordered the parties to arbitrate the question of whether consideration existed. After Jesse Newberry and Becky Lowrance were discharged from Dollar General, they filed charges of discrimination. Dollar General filed motions to compel Newberry and Lowrance to submit their claims to arbitration and stay further proceedings on the grounds that the employees signed agreements to arbitrate. The circuit court sustained Dollar General's motions to compel. Newberry and Lowrance each sought a permanent writ of prohibition preventing the circuit court from enforcing its orders, arguing that Dollar General failed to meet its burden to show consideration supported either the employee arbitration agreements or the provisions delegating threshold issues of arbitrability to the arbitrator. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court properly sustained Dollar General's motions to compel arbitration and stay the cases. View "State ex rel. Newberry v. Honorable Steve Jackson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court issued a permanent writ of mandamus ordering the circuit court to reinstate Gary Sampson's previous probationary term, holding that the circuit court erred in placing Sampson on a third term of probation. In his writ of mandamus seeking his immediate discharge from probation Sampson argued that the circuit court lost authority by placing him on a third term of probation and therefore erred by overruling his motion to be discharged from probation and setting the matter for a probation violation hearing. The Supreme Court agreed that the circuit court erred by placing Sampson on a third term of probation but, because it was unclear whether the circuit court had authority to conduct a probation violation hearing or whether Sampson's probation expired statutorily, the circuit court was required to enter an order continuing Sampson's valid second term of probation. View "State ex rel. Sampson v. Honorable William E. Hickle" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court exercised its discretion not to dismiss this appeal as moot and held that the circuit court erred in placing Trevor Griffith, who had already been discharged from parole, on a third term of probation. Griffith filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeking an immediate release from custody and to be discharged from probation. Specifically, Griffith argued that the circuit court exceeded its authority after revoking and terminating his second term of probation and executing his sentence. After this case was submitted, Griffith was released from his incarceration and discharged from parole. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court erred in placing Griffith on a third term of probation; (2) when a circuit court places a defendant on an erroneous third term of probation, the case should be remanded to determine the proper course of the defendant's sentence; and (3) because Griffith had been released and discharged, he should not be returned to custody to make this determination. View "State ex rel. Griffith v. Precythe" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court sustaining the revocation of Appellant's driving privileges for refusing to submit to a chemical test, holding that Appellant's refusal to consent to the chemical test was not voluntary and unequivocal under Mo. Rev. Stat. 577.041. The circuit court sustained the decision of the director of revenue revoking Appellant's driving privileges for one year. On appeal, Appellant argued that his refusal to consent to the chemical test was not voluntary and unequivocal because law enforcement deprived him of his statutory right to counsel by listening to and making recordings of his part of the conversation with his attorney. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the circuit court erred in sustaining the revocation of Appellant's driving privileges because law enforcement deprived Appellant of his right to confer privately with his attorney, and the director failed to show that Appellant was not prejudiced. View "Roesing v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's order directing Mathew and Andrea Elder to remove their dock they built on a lake that abutted their home but that was owned by a neighboring subdivision but reversed the portion of the circuit court's order awarding attorney's fees, holding that the Elders did not acquire riparian rights in the lake and that the circuit court erred in finding "special circumstances" supporting the award of attorney's fees. Missouri law recognizes riparian rights for properties abutting natural bodies of water. The lake in this case was artificial. The Elders never had the right to use the lake based on their ownership of the abutting land and did not otherwise establish an easement for use of the lake. The circuit court entered a judgment directing the Elders to remove the dock and awarded attorney's fees for the board of trustees established by the founder of the subdivision tasked with maintaining the lake. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Elders did not have riparian rights to use the lake because it wa artificial and the Elders had no ownership or easement rights to its use; and (2) the circuit court erred in awarding the trustees attorney's fees because there were no special circumstances. View "Incline Village Board of Trustees v. Edler" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent its preliminary writ of prohibition prohibiting the circuit court from holding a probation revocation hearing and ordered the circuit court to discharge Travis Jones from probation, holding that Jones's term of probation had expired, and therefore, the circuit court lost the power to revoke his probation. As grounds for the writ, Jones argued that the circuit court failed to make every reasonable effort to hold his probation revocation hearing prior to the expiration of his term of probation and lost authority to do anything other than order his discharge from probation. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the Court lost the power to revoke Jones's probation because it failed to make every reasonable effort to bring Jones before the court before the term of probation expired. View "State ex rel. Jones v. Honorable Eric Eighmy" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal 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 made permanent a writ of prohibition to prevent the circuit court from ordering Relator to submit to a mental evaluation pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. chapter 552, holding that chapter 552 did not authorize the circuit court to order the department of mental health to conduct a psychiatric evaluation of Relator. Relator was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree burglary, and other offenses. Relator asserted that he was not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. The State sought an order for a mental evaluation pursuant to chapter 552. The circuit court granted the motion. Relator then petitioned the court of appeals for a writ of prohibition, and the court of appeals granted the writ. The Supreme Court granted transfer and made permanent a writ of probation, holding that the circuit court exceeded its authority by ordering Relator to undergo a mental evaluation pursuant to chapter 552 when Relator intended to rely only on the diminished capacity defense because the circuit court lacked reasonable cause to question his competence to stand trial. View "Caruthers v. Honorable Wendy Wexler-Horn" on Justia Law