Justia Contracts Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Missouri Supreme Court
Mendenhall v. Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. of Hartford
Ruth Mendenhall appealed a summary judgment in favor of Property and Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford on her equitable garnishment claim seeking insurance coverage for the death of her husband, Len Mendenhall. The trial court's judgment was premised on the conclusion that Len was an "employee" under the terms of the Hartford policy and, therefore, was excluded from coverage. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court, holding that, given the facts of this case and the policy language, Len was not an "employee" but was instead a "temporary worker" subject to coverage under the terms of the Hartford policy. View "Mendenhall v. Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. of Hartford" on Justia Law
Kieffer v. Icaza
Appellant and Respondents entered into a lease agreement for a residence to be used by one of Respondents. Appellant later filed a petition for breach of contract and property damage against Respondents, claiming they had breached the terms of the lease and had committed waste on the property. Respondents filed a counterclaim against Appellant. The trial court ruled in favor of Respondents on Appellant's petition and in favor of Appellant on Respondents' counterclaim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding, among other things, that there was substantial evidence supporting the trial court's determination that Respondents did not breach the lease agreement. View "Kieffer v. Icaza" on Justia Law
Am. Eagle Waste Indus. v. St. Louis County
In 2008, St. Louis County (County) assumed control of solid waste collection in County's unincorporated areas. Prior to that, waste collection services had been provided by private entities, including respondent Haulers. Following a 2007 amendment to Mo. Rev. Stat. to 260.247, which extended hauler-protective business regulations to counties that wish to provide trash collection, Haulers sued County for a declaratory judgment that County must comply with section 260.247. Haulers also claimed they suffered money damages as a result of County's failure to comply with the statute. The circuit court found County liable to Haulers on the theory of implied in law contract and awarded Haulers $1.2 million in damages. The Supreme Court (1) reversed the circuit court's calculation of damages, holding that the circuit court was incorrect to exclude discovery or evidence of Haulers' expenses or net profit; and (2) affirmed the judgment in all other respects. Remanded. View "Am. Eagle Waste Indus. v. St. Louis County" on Justia Law
Harpagon MO, LLC v. Bosch
This was an appeal from the circuit court's entry of summary judgment quieting title to certain property in favor of Edward and Nancy Bosch. Harpagon MO, LLC asserted that the circuit court should have entered summary judgment in its favor because it complied with the requirements of Mo. Rev. Stat. 140.405 by providing the Bosches with timely and sufficient notice of their right to redemption. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a purchaser is authorized to acquire a deed to property purchased at a tax sale one year after the sale; (2) therefore, a purchaser must notify the owner of that property of the owner's right to redeem at least ninety days prior to one year after the tax sale; (3) if the purchaser does not provide timely or sufficient notice, but still acquires the deed by presenting the certificate of purchase to the collector, then the owner can file a petition to set aside the tax sale asserting the purchaser's failure to comply with section 140.405; and (4) the circuit court did not err in finding that the notices provided to the Bosches were not timely and thus awarding the Bosches quiet title to the property.
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.
Estate of Overbey v. Chad Franklin Nat’l Auto Sales N., LLC
Max and Glenna Overbey recovered judgments against Chad Franklin National Auto Sales North, LLC (National) and Chad Franklin (Franklin) for fraudulent representations in violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act made in connection with National's sale of a vehicle to the Overbeys. Franklin appealed, and the Overbeys appealed the trial court's reduction of the punitive damage verdict as required by statute. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the award against Franklin was fully supported by the evidence; and (2) the limit of punitive damages did not violate the Overbeys' constitutional rights or the separation of powers doctrine.
State ex rel. McKeage v. Circuit Court (Cordonnier)
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.
Hargis v. JLB Corp.
JLB Corporation, a mortgage brokering service, entered into an agreement with Bonnie Hargis to refinance her home. JLB then prepared Hargis's loan application and other financial disclosure documents. JLB alleged it played no role in drawing the note or deed of trust, which were prepared by third parties, and it did not charge for their preparation. Hargis, however, filed a three-count petition against JLB, alleging, inter alia, that JLB engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of JLB on all counts. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the grant of summary judgment to JLB as to the first two counts relating to the unauthorized practice of law where the record showed that JLB assisted Hargis only in preparing financial documents and did not show that JLB procured or assisted in the drawing of Hargis' note, deed of trust, or other legal documents; and (2) reversed the grant of summary judgment to JLB on the third count alleging unjust enrichment, as JLB's summary judgment motion failed to negate any element of Hargis' unjust enrichment claim. Remanded.
Buemi v. Kerckhoff
The underlying dispute in this case involved a contract and tort action brought by homeowners in a subdivision against certain homebuilders, including the Kerckhoff defendants. The trial court ordered that the case be referred to mediation. The parties were unable to agree to terms in a written settlement agreement at the conclusion of the mediation. The homeowners and some defendants then filed motions to enforce settlement and motions for sanctions against the Kerckhoffs, alleging the Kerckhoffs acted in bad faith during the mediation. The trial court entered an order denying the motions to enforce settlement but granted the motions for sanctions. The Kerckhoffs filed a motion with the trial court requesting that its order be certified as final and appealable, and the court entered an order finding that its prior ruling imposing sanctions was final for purposes of appeal. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of a final judgment. The Supreme Court granted transfer and dismissed the appeal, holding that because the trial court's order imposing sanctions did not dispose of a "claim for relief," the trial court certification of its order as final and appealable under Mo. R. Civ. P. 74.01 was ineffectual.