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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court dismissing Petitioner’s petition alleging that the debt collection actions of the owners and operators of LifeSmile Dental Care (collectively, LifeSmile) and attorney Dennis Barton (collectively, Respondents) violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and that Barton violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA). The circuit court concluded (1) Petitioner’s FDCPA claim was barred by the statute of limitations, and (2) Petitioner's MMPA claim failed to state a claim because Barton’s collection activities were not “in connection with” the sale of LifeSmile’s dental services to Petitioner, and no lender-borrower relationship existed between Barton and Petitioner. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) an FDCPA violation is not time-barred simply because it restates or relates back to assertions made in a debt collection action that is beyond the one-year statute of limitations, and Petitioner identified three actions he alleged amounted an FDCPA violation occurring within a year of his filing of the action; and (2) Barton’s efforts to collect payment were an attempt to complete the transaction of the sale of dental services to Petitioner and were therefore “in connection with” the sale. View "Jackson v. Barton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer 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

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The Supreme Court made permanent preliminary writs of prohibition sought by Relators to prevent the circuit court from taking any action other than vacating its orders overruling their respective motions to dismiss on the grounds that Plaintiff’s Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) claims against them for discrimination and retaliation were time barred. After Relators each filed a motion to dismiss as time barred Alicia Mulvey’s MHRA claims for discrimination and retaliation, Mulvey filed a motion for leave to amend her petition to include common law claims of negligence and wrongful discharge. The circuit court overruled Relators’ motions to dismiss and sustained Mulvey’s motion for leave to amend. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court exceeded its authority when it overruled Relators’ motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim and abused its discretion when it sustained Mulvey’s motion for leave to amend her petition because Mulvey failed to file her MHRA claim within the ninety-day statutory period and her common law claims of negligence and wrongful discharge were fully encompassed and comprehended by the MHRA. View "State ex rel. Church & Dwight Co. v. Honorable William B. Collins" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of the State on Plaintiff’s action seeking a declaration that the State could not enforce Mo. Rev. Stat. 571.707 against him without violating Mo. Const. art. I, 23 and the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Plaintiff, a convicted felon who had completed his sentences, was required to surrender his federal firearms license, class 01 after the General Assembly, in 2008, amended section 571.070 to make it unlawful for any person who has been convicted of a felony to possess a firearm. Plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action raising facial and as-applied challenges to section 571.070. The circuit court rejected the State’s argument that Plaintiff’s claims were not ripe and found that section 571.070 did not violate the Missouri or United States Constitutions because felons categorically are removed from the group of people who can claim the protections of those constitutional provisions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff satisfied the requirements to bring a pre-enforcement declaratory judgment action challenging the constitutional validity of section 571.070; and (2) section 571.070 withstands constitutional scrutiny. View "Alpert v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of the State on Plaintiff’s action seeking a declaration that the State could not enforce Mo. Rev. Stat. 571.707 against him without violating Mo. Const. art. I, 23 and the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Plaintiff, a convicted felon who had completed his sentences, was required to surrender his federal firearms license, class 01 after the General Assembly, in 2008, amended section 571.070 to make it unlawful for any person who has been convicted of a felony to possess a firearm. Plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action raising facial and as-applied challenges to section 571.070. The circuit court rejected the State’s argument that Plaintiff’s claims were not ripe and found that section 571.070 did not violate the Missouri or United States Constitutions because felons categorically are removed from the group of people who can claim the protections of those constitutional provisions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff satisfied the requirements to bring a pre-enforcement declaratory judgment action challenging the constitutional validity of section 571.070; and (2) section 571.070 withstands constitutional scrutiny. View "Alpert v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Zoning Adjustment of the City of Kansas City (BZA) to deny the request of the Antioch Community Church (Church) for a nonuse zoning variance for a digital display on a sign it erected in front of the church building. The circuit court concluded that the BZA erred in denying the variance because (1) contrary to the BZA’s determination, the BZA had the authority to grant the variance; and (2) the Church adequately established the existence of “practical difficulties” so the denial of the variance was not supported by competent and substantial evidence. The Supreme Court granted transfer and affirmed the BZA, holding (1) the BZA had authority to grant a variance if the other requirements for a variance were met; but (2) the record supported the BZA’s decision that the Church did not show “practical difficulties” in operating without the variance. View "Antioch Community Church v. Board of Zoning Adjustment of City of Kansas City" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant of the charge of resisting arrest, holding that the evidence did not support the submission of resisting arrest. Specifically, the Court held (1) Defendant’s arrest had already been effected when he was restrained by law enforcement officers and under their control when Defendant’s alleged resistance occurred; and (2) because Defendant’s arrest and custody were chronologically and legally separate events under the statutory and common law framework, if Defendant committed any crime it would have been attempt to escape from custody, not resisting arrest. View "State v. Ajak" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent its preliminary writ of prohibition, holding that the circuit court exceeded its authority in refusing to transfer venue of Defendant’s petition for writ of habeas corpus. While detained in the Jackson County Detention Center, Defendant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus challenging his judgment of conviction and sentences for first-degree murder. Defendant was later returned to the Crossroads Correctional Center. The Director of the Jackson County Detention Center, who had been named as the respondent in Defendant’s petition, filed a motion to transfer the habeas corpus case to the proper venue in DeKalb County, where Defendant was located, and to substitute the Warden of the Correctional Center as the proper respondent. The Jackson County circuit court overruled the motion. Relator Joshua Hawley then filed a motion to transfer venue to DeKalb County and to substitute the proper respondent. The Jackson County circuit court overruled this motion. Relator sought a writ of prohibition from this Court. The Court granted relief, holding that the Jackson County circuit court exceeded its authority in refusing to transfer venue of Defendant’s petition because the Warden was the proper named respondent and DeKalb County was the proper venue for the habeas petition. View "State ex rel. Hawley v. Honorable Sandra Midkiff" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court dissolving the marriage of Jessica Bowers and Jason Bowers and designating Jason a third party in the dissolution proceeding for purposes of determining custody of Child. The circuit court awarded Jason sole legal and physical custody of Child, finding that it would not be in Child’s best interest for Jessica or Child’s biological father to have sole physical or legal custody. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in designating Jason as a third party in the dissolution action for the sole purpose of determining custody even where Jason was already a party to the dissolution; and (2) the circuit court’s award of third-party custody to Jason was not against the weight of the evidence. View "Bowers v. Bowers" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Because Plaintiffs in these two personal injury suits failed to allege a breach of a duty unrelated to employment or a breach of workplace safety that was so unforeseeable to the employer as to take it outside the employer’s nondelegable duty to provide a reasonably safe workplace, the trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff’s co-employees (Defendants). Plaintiffs in both cases were injured on the job. Plaintiffs sued Defendants for common law negligence, arguing that Defendants breached a duty separate and distinct from their employers’ duty to provide a safe workplace. In each case, the trial court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that summary judgment was properly granted under Parr v. Breeden, 489 S.W.3d 774, 778 (Mo. banc 2016) and Peters v. Wady Industries, Inc., 489 S.W.3d 784, 789-90 (Mo. banc 2016). View "Conner v. Ogletree" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury