Justia Missouri Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Consumer Law
Bridgecrest Acceptance Corp. v. Donaldson
The Supreme Court reversed the rulings of the circuit court denying Bridgecrest Acceptance Corporation's motions to dismiss or stay the counterclaims against it and to compel the matters to arbitration pursuant to an arbitration agreement, holding that the arbitration agreement was legally valid, conscionable, and not precluded by collateral estoppel.In two separate cases, Bridgecrest sought a deficiency judgment against consumers who had defaulted on car payments. The consumers brought counterclaims, raising putative class claims for unlawful and deceptive business practices. Bridgecrest moved to stay or dismiss the consumers' counterclaims and compel arbitration pursuant to the arbitration agreements signed by the consumers when buying their vehicles. The circuit court overruled the motions in both cases. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in refusing to compel arbitration. View "Bridgecrest Acceptance Corp. v. Donaldson" on Justia Law
Car Credit, Inc. v. Pitts
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court confirming an arbitration award in favor of Car Credit, Inc., holding that the arbitration agreement was valid and that the circuit court did not err.Cathy Pitts entered into a retail installment contract and security agreement with Car Credit to purchase and finance a vehicle. The parties also entered into a written arbitration agreement. After Car Credit repossessed the vehicle and sued Pitts for the remaining deficiency balance Pitts filed a counterclaim alleging an unlawful and deceptive pattern of wrongdoing followed by Car Credit. The circuit court sustained Car Credit's motion to compel arbitration. The arbitrator entered an award on the merits' of Pitts' claim in favor of Car Credit. The circuit court entered judgment for Car Credit on all causes of action in accordance with the arbitration award. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the arbitration agreement was enforceable. View "Car Credit, Inc. v. Pitts" on Justia Law
State ex rel. Vacation Management Solutions, LLC v. Honorable Joan L. Moriarty
The Supreme Court made permanent a preliminary writ of mandamus sought by Vacation Management Solutions, LLC (VMS) to prevent the circuit court from moving forward with Kyle Klosterman's case in the City of St. Louis, holding that the action must be transferred pursuant to Mo. R. Civ. P. 51.045(c).Klosterman filed an action against VMS in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis alleging violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. VMS filed both a motion to dismiss and a motion to transfer venue, arguing that the City of St. Louis was an improper venue and that venue was proper in either Warren County or in St. Charles County. The circuit court overruled the motion to dismiss. Thereafter, VMS filed a petition for a writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that because Klosterman did not reply within thirty days to VMS's motion to transfer alleging improper venue, the circuit court was required to transfer the case to Warren County or St. Charles County. View "State ex rel. Vacation Management Solutions, LLC v. Honorable Joan L. Moriarty" on Justia Law
State ex rel. Universal Credit Acceptance, Inc. v. Honorable Reno
The Supreme Court made permanent its preliminary writ of mandamus compelling the circuit court to transfer the underlying lawsuit to St. Charles County, holding that the circuit court had no authority to change venue and transfer the case from St. Charles County to St. Louis County.Universal Credit Acceptance, Inc. (UCA) filed the underlying lawsuit in St. Charles County seeking to recover a judgment arising from Renwick Ware's alleged default on a retail sales installment contract. After the associate circuit division sustained Ware's application for change of judge, Ware filed a motion to change the venue to St. Louis County. The circuit court sustained the motion and transferred the case to St. Louis County. UCA filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, arguing that, pursuant to Rule 51.06(a), Ware waived the right to file a motion to change venue because the motion was not consolidated with his application for change of judge. The Supreme Court issued a preliminary writ that it made permanent, holding that Ware's motion to change venue was improper under Rule 51.06(a), and therefore, UCA demonstrated a clear and unequivocal right to have the case retransferred to St. Charles County. View "State ex rel. Universal Credit Acceptance, Inc. v. Honorable Reno" 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
Jackson v. Barton
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
Hurst v. Nissan North America, Inc.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court in this class action finding that every class member suffered damage as a result of alleged misrepresentations on the part of Nissan North American, Inc. and entered judgment for Nissan pursuant to Mo. R. Civ. P. 84.14.Plaintiff, on behalf of a class of similarly situated plaintiffs, sued Nissan for violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, Mo. Rev. Stat. 407.010 to 407.130, based on alleged misrepresentations concerning the dashboards in certain Nissan Infinity FX vehicles. After a jury trial, the trial court entered judgment requiring Nissan to pay $2,000 in damages to each class member and $1.9 million in attorney fees. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the statements at issue were not actionable “misrepresentations” under section 407.020.1. View "Hurst v. Nissan North America, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Consumer Law
Dennis v. Riezman Berger, P.C.
The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the circuit court dismissing Appellants’ petitions against Respondents for failure to state a claim for relief. The circuit court ruled that the petitions, which alleged, in part, the improper collection of post-judgment interest, failed to state a claim because nontort judgments automatically accrue post-judgment interest even when the judgments do not expressly award such interest. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court correctly ruled that nontort judgments automatically accrue post-judgment interest, but the petitions may have adequately stated a claim for relief against Respondents for other reasons. The court remanded the case to the circuit court to consider Appellants’ remaining claims following the dismissal of their claims related to post-judgment interest. View "Dennis v. Riezman Berger, P.C." on Justia Law
Ellis v. JF Enters., LLC
In 2013, Plaintiff purchased a new car from Defendant. In 2014, Plaintiff filed the underlying petition for damages, alleging that Defendant violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act by failing to pass title for her new vehicle. Thereafter, Defendant asked the trial court to enforce the arbitration agreement between the parties. The trial court overruled the motion to compel arbitration on the ground that the contract between the parties was void under Mo. Rev. Stat. 301.210. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the trial court, holding that even though the sale between Plaintiff and Defendant may be void under section 301.210, that question is for the arbitrator to determine, not the trial court. Remanded with instructions for the trial court to grant Defendant’s motion and compel arbitration. View "Ellis v. JF Enters., LLC" on Justia Law
Andra v. Left Gate Prop. Holding, Inc.
Issiah Andra, a Missouri resident, filed a petition against Texas-based Left Gate Property Holding, Inc. after Andra purchased on eBay a vehicle from Left Gate that did not meet Andra’s expectations. The circuit court dismissed the petition for lack of personal jurisdiction over Left Gate. Andra appealed, arguing that Left Gate had sufficient minimum contacts with Missouri to be subject to personal jurisdiction in Missouri in accordance with the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Left Gate’s conduct in Missouri fell within Missouri’s long-arm statute, and Left Gate had sufficient minimum contacts with Missouri to satisfy the due process clause. View "Andra v. Left Gate Prop. Holding, Inc." on Justia Law