Articles Posted in Class Action

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Robert and Janet McKeage (Relators) sued Bass Pro Outdoor World in a five-count petition for charging a document preparation fee for purchasing a boat. Relators subsequently sought class certification of both in-state and out-of-state customers based upon the purchase agreement's choice of law provision, which required the application of Missouri law to all transactions. The circuit court certified a class that was limited to contracts entered into within the state. Relators sought relief by way of a writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion by limiting the putative class members to only those whose transactions occurred in Missouri where the class of plaintiffs that Relators sought to certify was limited to those who were charged a document preparation fee and whose contracts contained the Missouri choice of law provision. View "State ex rel. McKeage v. Circuit Court (Cordonnier)" on Justia Law

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The city of Winchester and its collector (Winchester) filed a class action lawsuit against Charter Communications on behalf of itself and other similarly situated Missouri municipal corporations and political subdivisions, seeking a declaratory judgment requiring Charter and other telephone service providers to comply with ordinances requiring them to pay a license tax on gross receipts derived from fees and services connected to their operations and an order requiring Charter to pay all license taxes owed to the class. The circuit court struck Winchester's claims on the basis of Mo. Rev. Stat. 71.675, which bars cities and towns from serving as class representatives in suits to enforce or collect business license taxes imposed on telecommunications companies. The Supreme Court quashed the court's preliminary writ of prohibition and granted Winchester's request for a permanent writ of mandamus directing the trial court to vacate its order, holding that the court exceeded its authority in striking Winchester's class action allegations pursuant to section 71.675, as the statute violated Mo. Const. art. V, 5 because it amended a procedural rule of the Court. View "State ex rel. Collector of Winchester v. Circuit Court (Jamison)" on Justia Law