Saturday, January 2, 2016

Grider v. Bowling

Opinion handed down May 11, 2015
Duke and Kami Lee Grider filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against the Springfield, Missouri Police Department, alleging the Department violated the Griders’ statutory and constitutional rights by using excessive force.[1] Both parties moved for summary judgment, and an interlocutory appeal followed.[2]  The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri held that Officer Brandon Bowling was not entitled to qualified immunity, and Officer Bowling appealed.[3]  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed, granting the officer qualified immunity.[4]

State ex rel. Strong v. Griffith

Opinion handed down June 7, 2015
        In Strong v. Griffith, the Supreme Court of Missouri made no exceptions to its death penalty requirements as they pertain to the mentally ill.  That case involved the examination of a writ of habeas corpus filed by Richard Strong, who was convicted and later sentenced to death for his actions in a heinous double murder.  Strong contended that at the time he committed the murders, he was mentally ill, and therefore he was unfit to be executed.  However, the court rejected Strong’s assertion, reasoning he was not entitled to the relief he sought.  Strong was mentally fit at the time of trial, so he was ineligible to be granted a stay of execution under Missouri Revised Statute Sections 552.020 and 552.030.  Additionally, Strong did not present evidence of any past mental illness during the penalty phase, and thus the court had no basis to review the death sentencing under Section 565.032.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Missouri v. Coleman

Opinion handed down June 16, 2015
“I need you to do me a favor. . . .  Put the money in this bag;” these and other words and actions led Gary Leland Coleman to a conviction for second-degree robbery.[1]  On appeal to the Supreme Court of Missouri, Mr. Coleman argued that the evidence was insufficient to support a finding that he forcibly stole money with the use, or threat of use, of force.[2]  The court, on the facts of the case, and because there is an implicit threat of force when money is demanded without right in a bank, affirmed Mr. Coleman's conviction for second-degree robbery.[3]

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Eaton v. CMH Homes, Inc.

Opinion handed down May 26, 2015
        In Eaton v. CMH Homes, Inc. (“CMH”), Mr. Eaton contracted with CMH to purchase a manufactured home.[1]  On or around September 27, 2012, Mr. Eaton sued CMH for alleged defects in the home.[2]  Mr. Eaton’s complaint alleged fraud, negligence, breach of contract, and negligent misrepresentation.[3]
        CMH denied the allegations and moved to dismiss or stay the court action.  Further, CMH moved to enforce the arbitration agreement section of the contract by compelling arbitration between the parties.[4]  Mr. Eaton replied, arguing the arbitration agreement was unconscionable.[5] 
        The trial court overruled CMH’s motion to dismiss or stay the court action and compel arbitration.[6]  On appeal, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District affirmed the trial court’s holding.[7]  Upon transfer, the Supreme Court of Missouri held that the trial court erred in refusing to compel arbitration.[8]  The court noted that the anti-waiver clause of the arbitration agreement was unconscionable, but the clause did not render the entire agreement unenforceable.[9]