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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the circuit court, after a bench trial, finding Defendant “not guilty” of felony sexual misconduct involving a child by indecent exposure because the statute under which he was charged was unconstitutionally overbroad as applied to Defendant’s case, holding that, based on the record, the Court was unable to ascertain the precise nature of the circuit court’s ruling. On appeal, the State argued that the circuit court’s judgment was equivalent to a dismissal of the indictment following a guilty verdict, and therefore, Defendant was not acquitted of the offense. In response, Defendant argued that the circuit court’s judgment was a judgment of acquittal because the circuit court expressly found him not guilty. Therefore, Defendant argued, the appeal was barred by double jeopardy. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment and remanded the case with instructions to enter a new judgment, holding that the Court could not consider the appeal or motion to dismiss on the merits because the Court was unable to determine if the judgment was an acquittal or a dismissal. View "State v. Ward" 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 quashed its preliminary writ of mandamus to compel the circuit court to dismiss with prejudice Relator’s charge of driving while intoxicated, holding that Relator did not demonstrate a clear and unequivocal right to the dismissal of his charge because the plain language of Mo. Rev. Stat. 577.037.2 does not require a pretrial hearing or pretrial determination on the motion. Relator filed a motion under section 577.037.2 asserting that because the chemical analysis demonstrated that his blood alcohol concentration was under the legal limit, and because the State did not present evidence to prove the dismissal was unwarranted, the charge should be dismissed. The circuit court overruled the motion. Relator then sought a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court quashed its preliminary writ of mandamus, holding (1) a pretrial hearing or pretrial determination on the section 577.037.2 motion is not required; (2) the circuit court has discretion to order that a hearing and determination on the motion be deferred until trial; and (3) because the circuit court’s overruling of the motion effectively deferred the matter until trial, Relator could seek relief on appeal. View "State ex rel. McCree v. Honorable Wesley Dalton" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the suspension of Appellant’s driver’s license for driving while intoxicated, holding that Appellant’s arguments on appeal were unavailing. Specifically, the Court held (1) the filing of a report with the department of health and senior services showing that a driver’s blood alcohol content was over the legal limit is a collateral requirement that does not affect the performance of the test or its validity or accuracy, and therefore, the failure to timely make that filing was not preclude admission of the report; (2) the implied consent notice complied with due process because it accurately informed Appellant that his license would be suspended immediately if he refused the breath test; and (3) a later notice of suspension given Appellant after he failed the breath test accurately informed him of the facts statutorily required to suspend his license and how to request a hearing. View "Carvalho v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the orders of the circuit court overruling motions to retax court costs after each movant had his jail board bill taxed as costs against him by the circuit court, holding that no statutory authority exists to treat jail board bills as court costs. Both movants were sentenced to a term in jail. The circuit clerks taxed to the movants as court costs a jail board bill. The movants later filed motions to retax costs, arguing that the circuit court had no statutory authority to tax their board bills as court costs. The circuit courts overruled the motions. The Supreme Court reversed the rulings on both motions and remanded with direction for the circuit court to retax the costs by removing the board bill liability of the movants under Mo. Rev. Stat. 221.070 from their respective fee reports, holding that the circuit courts erred in taxing as court costs the movants’ board bills, as express statutory authority permitting jail board bills to be taxed as court costs does not exist. View "State v. Richey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent its preliminary writ of prohibition preventing the circuit court from taking any action in this case other than discharging Relator from probation, holding that the circuit court lacked authority over Relator and could not hold a hearing to revoke her probation. During Relator’s term of probation, the division of probation and parole issued notices of citation, but none of those notices resulted in the issuance of probation violation warrants or the suspension of Relator’s probation. After a field violation report was filed, however, the circuit court suspended Relator’s probation. After a probation violation hearing was scheduled, Relator sought a petition for a writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court issued a preliminary writ, which it made permanent, holding (1) the notices of citation were not “initial violation reports” or “violation reports” pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 217.703, and therefore, the division’s issuances of notices of citation did not stop the accrual of earned compliance credits because Relator was not out of compliance with the terms of her probation; and (2) after the optimal discharge date passed, the circuit court did not have the authority to hold a probation revocation hearing and, rather, should have discharged Relator from probation. View "State ex rel. Coleman v. Honorable Horn" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court against St. Luke’s Surgicenter-Lee’s Summit LLC on a negligent credentialing claim brought by Thomas and Paula Tharp, holding that the Tharps failed to make a submissible case of negligent credentialing. Thomas Tharp suffered injuries when a surgeon operating out of St. Luke’s damaged his hepatic duct and common bile duct. The Tharps filed suit against the surgeon and St. Luke’s and then settled with the surgeon. The Tharps proceeded to trial against St. Luke’s on the claim that St. Luke’s negligently granted the surgeon staff privileges at its hospital. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Tharps, and the circuit court entered judgment in favor of the Tharps. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was insufficient evidence to support the Tharps’s negligent credentialing claim. View "Tharp v. St. Luke's Surgicenter-Lee's Summit, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the circuit court dismissing with prejudice R.M.A.’s petition alleging that Defendants, a school district and school board, unlawfully discriminated against him on the grounds of his sex in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), Mo. Rev. Stat. 213.065, holding that R.M.A.’s petition alleged facts that, if taken as true, established the elements of a claim under section 213.065. R.M.A. filed suit alleging that his “legal sex is male” and that, by denying him access to the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms, Defendants discriminated against him in the use of a public accommodation “on the grounds of his sex.” The circuit court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment below and remanded the case to the circuit court for further proceedings, holding that R.M.A. stated a claim under section 213.065.2. View "R.M.A. v. Blue Springs R-IV School District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (Commission) on Appellants’ consolidated allegations of violations of the Missouri Human Rights Act (Act), Mo. Rev. Stat. 213.010 et seq., holding that the circuit court erred in finding that Appellants’ claims failed under Pittman v. Cook Paper Recycling Corp., 478 S.W.3d 479 (Mo. App. W.D. 2015). Specifically, the circuit court relied upon Pittman’s holding that the Act does not include claims for sex discrimination based upon sexual orientation and then extended that rationale to include claims for sex discrimination based upon sex stereotyping. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case, holding (1) the Commission improperly characterized Appellants’ claims as sexual orientation discrimination, and therefore, the circuit court’s reliance on Pittman was misplaced; and (2) the circuit court erred in issuing summary judgment in favor of Defendant because the Act covers sex discrimination. View "Lampley v. Missouri Commission on Human Rights" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court quashed the preliminary writ issued in this original proceeding in prohibition brought by Husband seeking to prohibit the circuit court from enforcing its order compelling him to turn over all correspondence pertaining to his military retirement benefits and to sign an authorization releasing his military records related to reservist points he earned during his marriage to Wife, holding that Husband failed to establish that the circuit court exceeded its authority when it sustained Wife’s motion to compel. Specifically, the Court held (1) the circuit court’s order did not modify or otherwise grant Wife any relief from the division of property in the parties’ dissolution judgment, and therefore, the circuit court’s order was not governed by the one-year time limitation in Rule 74.06(c) and was not barred under the doctrines of collateral estoppel or res judicata; and (2) the circuit court’s order did not violate Husband’s due process rights or privacy rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. View "State ex rel. Cullen v. Honorable Kevin Harrell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law