Sunday, July 31, 2016

Stahl v. Hank’s Cheesecakes, LLC

Opinion handed down May 10, 2016

            Hank’s Cheesecakes appeals from the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission’s (“Commission”) decision granting unemployment benefits to its terminated employee, Robin Stahl.[1]  Stahl was terminated from her position following an incident in which she slapped the buttocks of a co-worker for making an insensitive comment in front of her and another co-worker. [2]  The Commission found that this conduct did not rise to the level of misconduct that disqualified her from receiving unemployment benefits. [3] On appeal, and as a matter of first impression as to whether striking an employee automatically constitutes misconduct, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District affirmed.[4]

Nevils v. Group Health Plan, Inc.

Opinion handed down May 3, 2016
In Nevils v. Group Health Plan, Inc., the Supreme Court of Missouri held for the second time in two years that § 8902(m)(1) of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Act (“FEHBA”) does “not preempt Missouri law prohibiting subrogation of personal injury claims.”[1]  After the court found no preemption in 2014, the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) promulgated a regulation providing that FEHBA does preempt state subrogation law, and the Supreme Court of the United States vacated Nevils and remanded the case to the Supreme Court of Missouri for reconsideration in light of the new regulation.[2]  On remand, the court gave minimal deference to the OPM’s guidance, holding that the new regulation did not alter its original conclusion that FEHBA does not preempt Missouri law prohibiting subrogation of personal injury claims.[3]

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Peters v. Johns

Opinion handed down May 20, 2016 
            In Peters v. Johns, the Supreme Court of Missouri resolved the constitutionality of requiring a state representative candidate to register in Missouri for at least two years to be eligible for election.[1] The court ruled with a 4-3 margin that the refusal to register is not an act of “symbolic speech,” and that the requirement does not violate either the First or Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.[2]

McGraw v. State

Opinion handed down May 24, 2016

Holding the title of “Honorable,” “Justice,” or “Judge,” might enable one to believe that an elected judge is paid commensurate with the noble title.  In reality, however, this is not the case.  Members of the Supreme Court of Missouri, the highest court in the state, are only paid a fraction more than some first year associates at large law firms.[1]  However, in a decision handed down by the Supreme Court of Missouri in May 2016, the court matter-of-factly denied elected judges their extra retirement compensation as prescribed to them by means of the Missouri Constitution.[2]  Lacking any type of policy argument, the court struck down the plaintiff-judges’ claims because their arguments relied on an incorrect interpretation of an amendment to the Missouri Constitution.[3]