Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Street v. Director of Revenue[1]

Opinion handed down January 31, 2012
Link to Mo. Sup. Ct. Opinion

Craig Street purchased a boat, outboard motor, and trailer in Maryland. Upon returning to Missouri, he registered the items with the Missouri Department of Revenue, at which time he paid local sales tax under protest. The Director of Revenue denied his refund request, and he appealed to the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC). The AHC determined Street was not entitled to a refund. The Supreme Court of Missouri reversed this decision. The court reasoned that the purchase was not subject to local sales tax because such taxes may only be imposed to the same extent as the state sales tax, which only apply to in-state purchases. Further, although a local use tax could potentially be imposed on the purchase, the county in which Street resided had not adopted a local use tax.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

State ex rel. Teichman v. Carnahan[1]

Opinion handed down January 17, 2012  
Link to Mo. Sup. Ct. Opinion 

The primary issue before the court in this case was whether the constitutionally-mandated commission set up to draw new state senate districts could withdraw and resubmit a plan after finding their initial plan constitutionally problematic. The Supreme Court of Missouri held that the commission lost authority once its initial plan was handed in. As the initial plan was indeed constitutionally infirm, the court determined an entirely new reapportionment process must take place. 

State v. McNeely[1]

Opinion handed down January 17, 2012

Defendant McNeely was arrested for driving under the influence, and blood was drawn without consent or a warrant.  The trial court sustained the defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence and the state filed an interlocutory appeal to the Supreme Court of Missouri.  On appeal, the state argued that the dissipating nature of alcohol in the bloodstream creates an exigent circumstance that evidence will be destroyed, and therefore a warrant is not required.  The court disagreed, holding that an exigent circumstance exists only if certain other “special facts” are also present that create an emergency situation that would delay the patrolman’s ability to procure a warrant, resulting in the destruction of evidence.

State ex rel. Collector of Winchester v. Jamison[1]

Opinion handed down January 17, 2012

The city of Winchester and its collector (Winchester) filed a class action against Charter Communications, Inc.; Charter Communications, LLC; and Charter Fiberlink – Missouri, LLC (Charter) to enforce the collection of certain telecommunications business taxes.  The circuit court dismissed Winchester’s claims based on Revised Statutes of Missouri § 71.675, which prohibited cities from participating as class representatives in such suits.  Winchester then sought a writ of mandamus from the Supreme Court of Missouri in order to compel the circuit court to vacate its order.  Winchester argued that it met the requirements for serving as a class representative under Missouri Supreme Court Rule 52.08, and that the legislature impermissibly changed the requirements set out in that rule by enacting § 71.675.  The court found that because the Missouri Constitution mandates that the legislature can only amend a procedural rule of the court when a statute is limited to that purpose and mentions the procedural rule by name, and because § 71.675 did not do either, the statute was void.

CACH, LLC v. Askew[1]

Opinion handed down January 17, 2012.

CACH, LLC acquired an outstanding credit card debt owed by Jon Askew and sued in St. Louis County Circuit Court to recover it.  The circuit court granted judgment to CACH.  On appeal, Askew argued that certain documents CACH used to prove the assignment should not have been admitted under the business records exception to the hearsay rule.  Without these documents, Askew claimed CACH could not establish standing to sue.  The Supreme Court of Missouri agreed with Askew and held that CACH had not satisfied the business records exception to the hearsay rule and, therefore, did not have standing to sue.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Weitz Co. LLC v. MacKenzie House LLC[1]

Opinion handed down January 5, 2012
Link to Eighth Circuit Opinion

In Weitz Company LLC v. Mackenzie House, LLC, the appellant challenged the trial court’s award of liquidated damages on the basis that it had failed to apply Missouri law limiting liquidated damages for construction delay to the time before the owner removes the contractor from the project. The Eighth Circuit denied this claim on the basis that the original holding was flawed and the Supreme Court of Missouri would therefore not uphold their previous decision.