Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Templemire v. W&M Welding, Inc.

Opinion issued
April 15, 2014 and modified on Court's own Motion May 27, 2014

Link to Supreme Court of Missouri Opinion

In Templemire v. W&M Welding, Inc., Plaintiff John Templemire filed suit against his former employer, W&M Welding, alleging he was discharged in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim.[i]  The Pettis County Circuit Court entered judgment in favor of W&M Welding.  The Supreme Court of Missouri overruled the Circuit Court and held that to make a submissible retaliatory discharge claim within RSMo § 287.780, “an employee must demonstrate his or her filing of a workers’ compensation claim was a ‘contributing factor’ to the employer’s discrimination or the employee’s discharge.”  Templemire is an extremely relevant opinion as the Missouri Supreme Court accepted the “contributing factor” standard over the previous “exclusive factor” standard.  

State v. Pierce

Opinion issued
June 24, 2014

Link to Supreme Court of Missouri Opinion

Bruce Pierce appealed his conviction for second-degree trafficking and resisting arrest, claiming that both charges should have been dismissed on the ground that the trial court lacked authority to retry him.[i]  In addition, Pierce claimed that the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury regarding possession of a controlled substance as a lesser-included offense of second-degree trafficking.[ii]  Finally, Pierce claimed the evidence was not sufficient to support his conviction for resisting arrest.[iii]  The Court rejected the first claim finding that by choosing not to raise the deadline at his earliest opportunity, Pierce waived his claim under the retrial deadline in article I, section 19.[iv]  The Court agreed with Pierce as to his second claim, finding that the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of possession of a controlled substance.[v]  As to Pierce’s third claim, the Court found that the evidence was sufficient to support a conviction for resisting arrest.[vi]    

Monday, September 29, 2014

Eugene Carl De Boise, et al. v. Taser International, Inc., et al.

Opinion issued
July 28, 2014

Link to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit Opinion

Family members of Samuel De Boise brought a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against individual officers of St. Louis County and also filed an action under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against St. Louis County.[i] The defendant officers each tased Samuel De Boise multiple times while attempting to apprehend him, and these actions resulted in his death.[ii] The district court granted motions for summary judgment filed by the independent officers and St. Louis County, finding that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity under the facts of the case, and that the county had not violated the ADA.[iii] Plaintiffs appealed, and the Eighth Circuit affirmed, finding that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity because their actions did not violate any clearly established right, and that St. Louis County had not violated De Boise’s rights under the ADA by failing to utilize appropriate officer training in the relevant situation.[iv] The majority opinion engendered a dissent from one justice on the issue of qualified immunity.[v]

Frye v. Levy

Opinion issued
[July 8, 2014]

Link to Missouri Supreme Court Opinion

Melody Frye (“Mother”) was the subject of a hotline tip to the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services (“Children’s Division”) alleging that she had neglected to monitor the interactions between her husband, Joseph Frye (“Frye”) and her three biological children.[i]  The Children’s Division conducted an investigation into the allegations against Mother and ultimately determined that the claims against one of the children, J.H. were substantiated and sought to add Mother’s name to the central registry.[ii]  She sought review of the Children’s Division’s decision by the Child Abuse Neglect Review Board, which ultimately affirmed the conclusion.[iii]  Timely, Mother sought judicial review and the trial court reversed the ruling, determining that the Children’s Division did not comply with the statutorily defined deadline in section 210.152.2, thus stripping the authority to make such determinations and ruled for Mother.[iv]  The Children’s Division appealed to the Supreme Court of Missouri, which ultimately vacated and remanded the trial court’s decision.[v]