Friday, October 11, 2013

Eilian v. Director of Revenue[1]

Opinion handed down June 11, 2013.

In 2005, Jonathan D. Eilian incurred a substantial net operating loss recognized under federal tax law. On his Missouri tax returns, Mr. Eilian used the negative amount owing to this net operating loss as the starting point for his state taxes. Therefore, Mr. Eilian’s income that was taxable under Missouri, but not federal law, was entirely subsumed in his federal net operating loss.[2]  Applying Brown Group, Inc. v. Administrative Hearing Commission as the rule of decision, the Supreme Court of Missouri held that Mr. Eilian used his federal net operating loss improperly to offset his Missouri taxable income and remanded the case for a final calculation of the taxpayer’s Missouri tax liability.

Breitenfeld v. School District of Clayton [1]

Opinion handed down June 11, 2013

Parents of students enrolled in the unaccredited St. Louis Public School (SLPS) District brought action against the district, and the transitional school district, for declaratory judgment claiming the transitional school district was required to pay for students’ tuition and transportation to attend an accredited school in Clayton, Missouri (Clayton) under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 167.131 and 167.241, also known as the “Unaccredited District Tuition Statute.[2]  Both SLPS and Clayton objected by filing for summary judgment, which the St. Louis County Circuit Court granted.[3]   The parents appealed to the Supreme Court of Missouri, which reversed and remanded back to the circuit court for further proceedings.[4]  Before the consolidated trial on remand commenced, the trial court allowed taxpayers from Clayton and a taxpayer from SLPS to intervene as defendants to raise arguments that § 167.131 violated the Hancock Amendment of the Missouri Constitution.  Clayton also brought a counterclaim against a plaintiff parent, Gina Breitenfeld, for tuition owed.[5]  After the trial court entered judgment in favor of the school districts, Breitenfeld and the State of Missouri appealed, and the Supreme Court of Missouri transferred the case from the Court of Appeals on its own motion.[6]  The Supreme Court of Missouri again reversed the trial court’s decision that § 167.131 violated the Hancock Amendment; thus declaring the statute constitutional.[7]

Bair v. Faust[1]

Opinion handed down July 16, 2013
Link to Mo. Sup. Ct. Opinion

Shannon Bair brought suit against William Faust following an automobile accident in which Bair sustained moderate injuries.  During voir dire, Bair’s attorney informed the court and the defendant that Bair would not be attending trial.  When the defense counsel requested that Bair be banned for the entirety of the trial, the court allowed Bair ten minutes to arrive in the courtroom before she would be banned.  Bair was thirty-five minutes away.  The court decided to ban Bair from the trial and also allowed defense counsel to argue an adverse inference against Bair.  After the jury found Bair to be 85% at fault for the accident, Bair appealed, arguing the court’s banning of Bair and grant of adverse inference argument to defendant was an abuse of discretion.  The Supreme Court of Missouri agreed, holding that both the banning of Bair and the allowance of an adverse inference argument was an abuse of discretion, resulting in an unfair disadvantage to Bair.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Burlison v. Springfield Public Schools[1]

Opinion handed down March 4, 2013

Mellony and Douglas Burlison, on behalf of their son, C.M., filed an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Article I, Section 15 of the Missouri Constitution, alleging that Springfield Public Schools (the “District”) along with school and law enforcement officials violated C.M.'s constitutional rights by searching and seizing his backpack during a drug dog visit to C.M.’s school.[2]  The Burlisons sought a permanent injunction, actual and nominal damages, attorney fees, and other relief.[3]  The District Court granted summary judgment to the defendants, concluding that the policies used during the drug dog exercise were reasonable and not a deprivation of any federal rights.[4]  On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed.[5]

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

State v. Kevin E. Hicks[1]

Opinion handed down February 26, 2013

The Supreme Court of Missouri denied Kevin Hicks’ appeal to overturn his convictions of forcible rape, attempted forcible rape, and forcible sodomy. Hicks argued that the trial court erred in admitting into evidence his statements to the police because the statements were made on the belief that he had agreed to a certain plea bargain which the state later failed to uphold.[2]

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Garozzo v. Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration, Division of Finance[1]

Opinion handed down January 29, 2013

In 2010, the Missouri SAFE Act was passed in response to the federal SAFE Act that was enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crises.[2]  A provision of the Missouri SAFE Act, section 443.713(2)(a), prohibited the director of the division of finance from issuing a mortgage loan originator license to anyone who had pleaded guilty to a felony seven years prior to the date of the application.[3]  Ray Garozzo, who had been a mortgage loan originator for several decades, applied for a license in 2010, but had pleaded guilty to a felony in 2006. [4] As a result, Garozzo’s license application was rejected.[5]  Garozzo subsequently filed a suit claiming that section 443.713(2)(a) violated portions of the Missouri Constitution, namely: article I, section 30’s ban on bills of attainder; article I, section 13’s ban on retrospective laws; and article I, section 10’s guarantee of due process.[6]  Although the lower court held section 443.713(2)(a) unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of Missouri reversed the ruling.[7]

Roberts v. BJC Healthcare[1]

Opinion handed down January 29, 2013

Plaintiffs brought suit against health service providers claiming that they were victims in a fraudulent billing scheme.  The circuit court ruled that because Plaintiffs were not billed for the alleged overcharges, they were unable to prove damages, and entered judgment in favor of the health service providers.  The Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed the circuit court’s holding.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

State ex rel. Mark Woodworth v. Larry Denney[1]

Opinion handed down January 8, 2013
The Supreme Court of Missouri vacated Mark Woodworth’s convictions for murder, assault, burglary and armed criminal action because the State violated Brady v. Maryland by failing to turn over material exculpatory evidence.[2]

Doughty v. Director of Revenue[1]

Opinion handed down January 8, 2013

Norman and David Doughty, father and son, were arrested simultaneously for driving while intoxicated and both subsequently refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.[2] As a result of their refusals, Norman and David were served with notices from the Director of Revenue which stated that their licenses would be revoked for one year. At trial, the Director’s sole evidence was an exhibit of her certified records, which were admitted pursuant to a state statute that provides certified copies of the records of the Director of Revenue are admissible in proceedings without identification testimony.[3]  The Doughtys’ claimed that statute was unconstitutional because it prevented them from confronting adverse witnesses, such as their arresting officers.[4] The Supreme Court of Missouri rejected this argument and held that the Doughtys’ were free to subpoena any adverse witnesses to appear at their separate trials because the statute did not expressly prevent them from doing so. [5]