Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Campbell v. County Commission of Franklin County

Opinion handed down February 3, 2015
Labadie Environmental Organization and several citizens filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the trial court after the County Commission of Franklin County approved and adopted zoning ordinances allowing Union Electric Company, doing business as Ameren Missouri, to build a coal-ash landfill adjoining the Labadie power plant.[1]  Following a judgment in favor of the County Commission and Ameren, Campbell argued that the court erred by dismissing Count I of their petition as the Commission “failed to conduct a legally sufficient hearing as required by Missouri Revised Statutes Section 64.875 prior to adopting the zoning amendments allowing coal-ash landfills” and that the court erred by ruling in favor of respondents on Count II as the “zoning amendments are invalid for failing to promote public health, safety, and welfare.”[2]  Agreeing with appellants as to Count I, the Supreme Court of Missouri reversed the trial court’s opinion and remanded the case for further proceedings.[3] 

Monday, June 22, 2015

In re Foreclosure Liens v. Realty Acquisition, LLC

Opinion handed down January 13, 2015

Beemer Construction (“Beemer”) and Seal-O-Matic Paving Company (“Seal-O-Matic”) both made improvements to property formerly owned by Sunnypointe, LLC (“Sunnypoint”).  Sunnypointe failed to pay Beemer and Seal-O-Matic for their services, and Beemer and Seal-O-Matic subsequently filed mechanic's liens against the property in 2007.[1]  That same year, Sunnypointe failed to pay its property taxes, and because of this, in 2010 the property was foreclosed on by the Jackson County Director of Collections.[2]  Notice of the tax sale was given by publication and by certified mail to Sunnypointe, but no personal notice was provided to Beemer or Seal-O-Matic.[3] Realty Acquisition, LLC (“Realty”) bought the property formerly owned by Sunnypointe LLC at the tax sale.[4]  Upon entry of appearance by Beemer and Seal-O-Matic in the tax foreclosure action, the trial court nullified the tax sale.[5] Realty ultimately appealed to the Supreme Court of Missouri.[6] The Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed the trial court's nullification of the tax sale.[7] The court held that when a lien has been properly filed as Missouri law requires, the lien-holder's name and address are reasonably ascertainable and therefore personal notice, rather than notice by publication, is required to satisfy due process.[8]

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ben Hur Steel Worx, LLC. v. Director of Revenue and Fred Weber, Inc., v. Director of Revenue

Missouri Revised Statutes Section 144.054.2 allows tax exemptions for certain industry processes. The following cases involve the construction of this revenue statute in the contexts of building and road construction.

Friday, June 19, 2015

State of Missouri v. Thomas A. Ess

Opinion handed down January 13, 2015
In 2013, the defendant, Thomas A. Ess (“Ess”), was convicted of first-degree statutory sodomy,[1] two counts of second-degree statutory sodomy,[2] and one count of attempted first-degree child molestation[3] in the Circuit Court of Monroe County.[4]  Following his conviction, Ess filed a timely appeal hinged on three arguments – that there were questions of (1) juror misconduct, (2) instructional error, and (3) insufficient evidence to support two of his convictions.[5]  Regarding the question of juror misconduct, “Ess alleged Juror No. 3 committed misconduct by announcing during a lunch recess during voir dire that ‘this is an open and shut case’ after the circuit court instructed the panel members they were not to discuss the case or form an opinion before the case was submitted.”[6] 
The Supreme Court of Missouri reversed the trial court’s judgment and remanded the case, holding that “one juror committed misconduct through the intentional nondisclosure of a material fact related to the lawsuit[,]”[7] and that “there was insufficient evidence to convict Ess of attempted first-degree child molestation.”[8]