Justia Missouri Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Class Action
Sophian Plaza Ass’n v. City of Kansas City, Missouri
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court holding the City of Kansas City in civil contempt of a 1976 modified judgment, holding that the parties could not bring a contempt action to enforce the 1976 modified judgment because they were not parties to the litigation and the 1976 plaintiffs were not certified as a class. Sophian Plaza Association and a class of similarly situated plaintiffs brought claims of breach of injunction, breach of contract, specific performance, and civil contempt stemming from the City's termination of a trash rebate program. The court certified a class and then entered judgment in favor of the class on its claims. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the class could not avail itself of enforcement proceedings brought upon the 1976 modified judgment because they were not parties to the litigation nor were the 1976 plaintiffs certified as a class under Mo. R. Civ. p. 52.08. View "Sophian Plaza Ass'n v. City of Kansas City, Missouri" on Justia Law
State ex rel. General Credit Acceptance Co. v. Honorable David L. Vincent III
The Supreme Court made permanent a preliminary writ of prohibition barring the circuit court from taking any further action other than vacating its order granting class certification, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion by certifying an overly broad class with a class representative whose claims were not typical of the class. Plaintiff filed the underlying class action on behalf of all other similarly situated Missouri consumers alleging that Defendant and its predecessors or successors violated statutory notice requirements relating to the repossession and disposition of collateral and collected unlawful interest following default and repossession of the collateral. The circuit court certified two classes and designated Plaintiff as the sole class representative. Defendant then filed a petition for a writ of prohibition arguing that the circuit court abused its discretion by certifying the class. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion by certifying a class with Plaintiff as the sole class representative where her claims were not typical of the class and she was not a member of the subclass. View "State ex rel. General Credit Acceptance Co. v. Honorable David L. Vincent III" on Justia Law
Meiners v. State
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the motion court overruling Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief under Rule 29.15, holding that Appellant’s argument that his appellate counsel was ineffective was unavailing. Appellant was convicted of second-degree murder. On appeal, appellate counsel did not raise as points of error the trial court’s rejections of Appellant’s requested jury instructions. In his Rule 29.15 motion for postconviction relief, Appellant argued that his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise these issues. The motion court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that appellate counsel’s performance was not constitutionally deficient because appellate counsel did not fail to exercise the customary level of skill and diligence of a reasonably competent attorney. View "Meiners v. State" on Justia Law
Rolwing v. Nestle Holdings, Inc.
Plaintiff was a Ralston Purina Company shareholder when Ralston and Nestle Holdings, Inc. entered into a merger agreement providing that, at the time of the merger, Ralston stock would be converted and Ralson shareholders would receive payments. Plaintiff was not paid until four days after the stock was converted. Ten years later, Plaintiff filed a class action petition alleging that Nestle breached the agreement by failing to timely pay shareholders. The trial court dismissed the petition as barred by the five-year statute of limitations in Mo. Rev. Stat. 516.120(1), which applies to all actions upon contracts except those mentioned in Mo. Rev. Stat. 516.110. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court erred by not applying the ten-year statute of limitations in section 516.110, which applies to all actions “upon any writing…for the payment of money.” The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the five-year statute applied in this case; and (2) Plaintiff’s argument that his petition was timely because the five-year limitations period was tolled by a pending class action against Nestle in another state was without merit. View "Rolwing v. Nestle Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law
Columbia Cas. Co. v. HIAR Holding, LLC
A class of Plaintiffs brought suit against Insured, a hotel proprietor, alleging that Insured violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The class and Insured subsequently reached a settlement. The class then filed a garnishment action against Insurer. Insurer sought a declaratory judgment that its policy with Insured did not provide coverage because the policy did not cover damages awarded related to the TCPA. The trial found (1) Insurer owed Insured a duty to defend in the class actions because the class's claims were covered under the policy; and (2) Insurer had a duty to indemnify Insured for the full settlement plus interest. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court correctly determined that Insurer wrongly refused to defend Insured under its policy coverage; (2) Insurer was not entitled to a reassessment of the reasonableness of the settlement; and (3) policy limits did not bar Insurer's indemnification of the settlement.View "Columbia Cas. Co. v. HIAR Holding, LLC" on Justia Law
Nevils v. Group Health Plan, Inc.
Plaintiff was injured in an automobile accident. Group Health Plan, Inc. (GHP) paid Plaintiff’s medical bills. Plaintiff subsequently recovered a personal injury settlement from the tortfeasor. GHP, through its agent, ACS Recovery Services, Inc. (ACS), asserted a lien against Plaintiff’s settlement, seeking reimbursement or subrogation for its payment of Plaintiff’s medical bills. Plaintiff filed a class action petition against GHP asserting several claims based on the premise that Missouri law does not permit the subrogation of tort claims. ACS intervened. The trial court entered summary judgment for GHP and ACS, concluding that the Federal Employee Health Benefits Act (FEHBA) preempts Missouri’s anti-subrogation law. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that FEHBA does not preempt Missouri law barring subrogation of personal injury claims. Remanded. View "Nevils v. Group Health Plan, Inc." on Justia Law
Hoover vs. Mercy Health
Appellant Richard Hoover appealed the dismissal of his individual and class action lawsuit against defendants doing business as St. John's Mercy Medical Center. He asserted that the trial court erred in dismissing his petition because it sufficiently stated a cause of action. Finding that Appellant's complaint indeed did sufficiently state a cause of action, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Hoover vs. Mercy Health" on Justia Law
Berry v. Volkswagen Group of Am., Inc.
Darren Berry filed suit against Volkswagen, alleging violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA). The trial court certified a class on behalf of Missouri owners and lessors of Volkswagen vehicles (Class). The action settled. After the the settlement for Class was approved and paid out, the trial court held a hearing regarding attorneys' fees. The trial court awarded Class counsel attorney's fees after determining the lodestar amount to be $3,087,320 and applying a multiplier of 2.0 for a total award of $6,174,640 in attorneys' fees. Volkswagen challenged the award of attorneys' fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the lodestar amount was within the trial court's discretion; and (2) the multiplier applied to the lodestar amount was not an abuse of the trial court's discretion. Remanded. View "Berry v. Volkswagen Group of Am., Inc." on Justia Law
Robinson v. Title Lenders, Inc.
Borrower brought suit against a payday loan company (Company), arguing that its arbitration agreement containing a class waiver was unenforceable. The trial court found that Company's arbitration agreement was unconscionable and unenforceable because its class waiver deprived borrowers of a meaningful remedy. The Supreme Court reversed in light of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, holding that that the trial court erred in finding that Company's arbitration agreement was unconscionable based on its class waiver and should have instead adjudicated whether the arbitration agreement was enforceable in light of Borrower's evidence relevant to her claims regarding ordinary state-law principles that govern contracts but that do no single out or disfavor arbitration. Remanded. View "Robinson v. Title Lenders, Inc." on Justia Law
Brewer v. Mo. Title Loans, Inc.
Missouri Title Loans appealed from a judgment finding that a class arbitration waiver contained in its loan agreement, promissory note, and security agreement (agreement) was unenforceable. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment insofar as it held that the arbitration waiver was unconscionable and reversed that part of the judgment ordering that the claim be submitted to an arbitrator to determine suitability for class arbitration, holding that the appropriate remedy was to strike the entire arbitration agreement. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Court's judgment and remanded for further consideration in light of AT&T Mobility, LLC. v. Concepcion. Applying Concepcion, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the presence and enforcement of the class arbitration waiver did not make the arbitration clause unconscionable; (2) the formation of the agreement was unconscionable; and (3) therefore, the appropriate remedy was revocation of the arbitration clause contained within the agreement. Remanded. View "Brewer v. Mo. Title Loans, Inc." on Justia Law