Justia Missouri Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission denying Claimant's claim for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits from the Second Injury Fund, holding that the Commission appropriately found that Claimant was not permanently and totally disabled.Claimant filed an amended workers' compensation claim against Employer, alleging that his primary work-related injuries were "bilateral upper extremities" and asserting a claim against the Fund for PTD benefits due to a prior injury to his bilateral lower extremities. An administrative law judge denied PTD benefits, and the Commission affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Claimant failed to carry his burden of persuasion in demonstrating that he was entitled to PTD benefits. View "March v. Treasurer of Missouri" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the circuit court entering summary judgment in favor of Alexis Still in this dispute over whether there was a settlement agreement between the parties, holding that there was no settlement agreement between the parties.Clifton Jameson and Still were involved in an automobile accident. Jameson sent MetLife, Still's insurer, an offer to settle. MetLife made a counteroffer. Jameson took the counteroffer as a rejection of his offer to settle and sued Still for damages arising from the accident. MetLife then attempted to accept Jameson's original settlement offer. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Still, concluding that MetLife's counteroffer did not terminate the settlement offer and that its subsequent letter of acceptance created a settlement agreement between the two parties. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment on the basis of settlement because no settlement agreement was reached. View "Jameson v. Still" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission reversing the administrative law judge's (ALJ) award of permanent and total disability (PTD) benefits against the Second Injury Fund, holding that the Commission's findings were supported by substantial and competent evidence.Christopher Klecka suffered a compensable work-related injury to his left shoulder. After settling the primary claim with his employer Klecka brought a claim against the Fund, alleging that his primary injury combined with his prior injuries rendered him permanently and totally disabled (PTD). An ALJ issued an award against the fund for PTD benefits. The Commission reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Klecka failed to establish that his primary injury and sole qualifying preexisting disability entitled him to PTD benefits from the Fund under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.220.3. View "Klecka v. Treasurer of Missouri" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal from the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (Commission) reversing the administrative law judge's award and denying Claimant permanent total disability benefits, holding that Claimant's brief preserved nothing for appellate review because it failed to comply with the mandatory and straightforward rules governing the contents of an appellant's briefs.After the Commission denied Claimant's claim, Claimant appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that each of Claimant's points on appeal was defective because each point relied on wholly failed to follow the simple template provided in Rule 84.04. View "Lexow v. Boeing Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted a preliminary writ of prohibition to Kimberly Barks preventing the disclosure of her medical records, holding that Barks did not waive the physician-patient privilege by pleading the affirmative defenses of comparative fault and assumption of risk.A golf cart driven by Barks and ridden in by Sheila Spencer was involved in an accident. Spencer sued Barks, alleging negligence. Barks denied the allegations and, alternatively, asserted several affirmative defenses, including comparative fault and implied primary assumption of risk. Spencer sought discover of Barks' medical records from the night of the accident, which Barks objected to. The circuit court subsequently sustained Spencer's motion to compel discovery of Barks' medical records. Barks then filed a petition for writ of prohibition or mandamus. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that Barks's affirmative defense did not constitute a waiver of the physician-patient privilege. View "State ex rel. Barks v. Honorable Pelikan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's judgment in favor of Danny Brock on his negligence claim against Mark Edwards, holding that the circuit court erred in overruling the motions for directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) filed by Peter Dunne, defendant ad litem for Edwards.Brock was injured in a work-related accident involving co-worker Edwards. Brock filed a petition alleging a negligence claim against Edwards. Edwards died before trial, and Dunne was substituted as defendant ad litem. The jury returned a verdict in Brock's favor, and the circuit court entered judgment for $873,000 in Brock's favor. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in overruling Dunne's motions for directed verdict and JNOV because Edwards was immune from liability pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.120.1 and Brock failed to make a submissible case of common law negligence. View "Brock v. Dunne" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court in favor of Defendants in this personal injury case, holding that there was no error.Arica Linton went into premature labor with her son, Nicholas, and an emergency cesarean section was performed. One year later, Nicholas was diagnosed with a white matter brain injury. Nicholas Linton brought this action against Defendants - healthcare providers - alleging that they failed to timely treat Arica, timely deliver Nicholas, timely perform a cesarean section, and diagnose and treat fetal distress. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in admitting an expert's alternative causation testimony. View "Linton v. Carter" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission finding that Defendant was not entitled to an award of workers' compensation benefits because his injury did not arise out of and in the course of his employment, holding that there was no error.Defendant, a field service specialist for DISH Network, Inc,. was an a car accident after he choked on a sandwich and blacked out while traveling to his first appointment. Defendant sought workers' compensation benefits. The ALJ awarded benefits, but the Commission denied compensation because Defendant failed to prove his injury arose out of and in the course of his employment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant failed to establish that his injury arose out of and in the course of his employment. View "Boothe v. DISH Network, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent a preliminary writ of prohibition it issued to prevent the release of Darin Lutman's medical records, holding that the circuit court erred in ordering the release of the records because they were protected by the physician-patient privilege.A vehicle driven by Lutman crossed the centerline on a Missouri highway and struck a vehicle driven by Sondra Murrell, who died. Plaintiffs filed a wrongful death suit against Lutman. After Plaintiffs filed notices of depositions and subpoenas for Lutman's medical records with Compass Health Network and Missouri Psychiatric Center, Lutman filed a motion to quash, arguing that the requested information was protected by the physician-patient privilege. The circuit court overruled Lutman's motion to quash. Lutman then filed a petition for a writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that Lutman did not waive the physician-patient privilege and that the circuit court erred in ordering the disclosure of his medical records. View "State ex rel. Lutman v. Honorable Baker" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court vacated in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the circuit court in this case brought by Pamela and Kelly Allen after Pamela fell down a flight of stairs in the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau, holding that the circuit court erred in part.The jury in this case returned verdicts holding the State ninety percent at fault and Pamela ten percent at fault and further found against Kelly on his loss of consortium state. The State appealed and the Allens cross-appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's judgment as to Kelly's loss of consortium claim and otherwise vacated the judgment, holding that the circuit court erred in its interpretation of the phrase "public entity's property" in Mo. Rev. Stat. 537.600.1(2). View "Allen v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury