Justia Missouri Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court affirming the decision of the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC), which found cause to discipline Appellant's license as a peace officer, and the subsequent order of the Missouri Director of the Department of Public Safety, which permanently revoked Appellant's license, holding that Mo. Rev. Stat. 590.080 is valid. On appeal, Appellant argued that section 590.080, under which the AHC may find that cause for discipline exists of the licensee has committed a criminal offense, whether or not a criminal charge has been filed, violates principles of separation of powers embodied in Mo. Const. art. II, 1. Appellant further argued that the order of the Director revoking his license was not supported by competent and substantial evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) nothing in section 590.080 violates the separation of powers provision; and (2) there was ample competent and substantial evidence for the Director to conclude that continuing to license Appellant as a peace officer would not adequately protect the public. View "O'Brien v. Department of Public Safety" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the administrative hearing commission (AHC) reversing the denial of the director of the department of revenue of David and Jill Kehlenbrinks' application for a sales tax refund, holding that the AHC erroneously decided that the Kehlenbrinks were entitled to a refund of all the sales tax they paid after their purchase of a new vehicle. On appeal, the director claimed that, in calculating the sales tax owed on the Kehlenbrinks' newly purchased vehicle, Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.025.1 allowed the Kehlenbrinks to credit the sale proceeds of only one vehicle against the purchase price of the new vehicle. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the AHC erroneously decided that the Kehlenbrinks were entitled to a refund of all the sales tax they paid because it mistakenly allowed credit for four vehicles the Kehlenbrinks sold within 180 days of their purchase of a new vehicle. View "Kehlenbrink v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court sustaining the revocation of Appellant's driving privileges for refusing to submit to a chemical test, holding that Appellant's refusal to consent to the chemical test was not voluntary and unequivocal under Mo. Rev. Stat. 577.041. The circuit court sustained the decision of the director of revenue revoking Appellant's driving privileges for one year. On appeal, Appellant argued that his refusal to consent to the chemical test was not voluntary and unequivocal because law enforcement deprived him of his statutory right to counsel by listening to and making recordings of his part of the conversation with his attorney. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the circuit court erred in sustaining the revocation of Appellant's driving privileges because law enforcement deprived Appellant of his right to confer privately with his attorney, and the director failed to show that Appellant was not prejudiced. View "Roesing v. Director of Revenue" 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 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 affirmed the decision of the administrative hearing commission finding Myron Green Corporation liable for sales tax on food sold to employees of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in the bank’s on-site cafeteria, holding that the cafeteria regularly served food to the public within the context of Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.020.1(6) and that the bank’s sales tax exemption did not extend to its individual employees. The primary issue on appeal was whether a third-party operator of a company cafeteria is liable for sales tax on food purchased by employees of a tax-exempt organization in that cafeteria when the organization sets the cafeteria’s hours, influences pricing, and subsidizes the cost of food in the cafeteria. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment below, holding that there was substantial and competent evidence supporting the commission’s finding that (1) Myron Green’s sales in the bank’s cafeteria were taxable because the cafeteria regularly served meals and drinks to the public, and (2) Myron Green sold food to individual customers instead of to the bank. View "Myron Green Corp. v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Administrative Hearing Commission finding Appellant’s claim for refund of sales tax untimely under Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.190.2, holding that the refund claim was untimely because it was filed more than three years after the tax return was due and more than three years after the date Appellant paid the tax. On appeal, Appellant conceded that it filed its refund request more than three years after remitting the sales tax. Appellant, however, asserted that the request was timely because 12 C.S.R. 10-102.016(2)(A) provides that a refund claim should also be considered timely if filed within three years of the date the tax return was due and that Appellant filed the refund request within three years of the latter date. The Supreme Court affirmed without reaching the issue of whether 12 C.S.R. 10-102.016(2)(A) is valid and consistent with section 144.190.2, holding that, even if 12 C.S.R. 10-102.016(2)(A) is applicable, Appellant was incorrect about when its return was due, and therefore, Appellant’s refund request was untimely. View "Crescent Plumbing Supply Company v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether consent is required from would-be affected counties before the Missouri Public Service Commission can issue a line certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) pursuant to the statute governing line CCNs, Mo. Rev. Stat. 393.170.1. Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC filed an application for a line CCN with the Commission seeking the Commission’s approval of Grain Belt’s proposed construction of an interstate electrical transmission line and associated facilities. The Commission denied the application for a line CCN, concluding that it was bound by In re Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois (ATXI), 523 S.W.3d 21 (Mo. App. 2017), which purported to require prior consent from each county affected by the proposed construction. The Supreme Court reversed the Commission’s order, holding (1) the Commission’s reliance on ATXI was error because section 393.170.1 does not require prior consent from affected counties; and (2) to the extent that ATXI suggests consent from every would-be affected county is required before the Commission can grant a line CCN, it should not be followed. View "Grain Belt Express Clean Line, LLC v. Public Service Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Missouri Public Service Commission determining that the term “methodology” as used in Rule 20.093(1)(F) means not only the formula used to compute a sum (i.e., the variables to be used) but also the values of those variables. Staff of the Commission filed a complaint alleging that Union Electric Co. (Ameren) violated a rule of the Commission when it failed to use certain 2014 data to calculate Ameren’s net shared benefits under an energy-efficiency plan approved by the Commission in 2012. The Commission granted Staff’s motion for summary determination. Ameren appealed. The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Commission, holding because the Commission’s erroneous determination of the meaning of term “methodology” played a central role in its decision, the matter must be remanded to the Commission for further proceedings. View "Missouri Public Service Commission v. Union Electric Co." on Justia Law