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.