Saturday, November 7, 2015

Eaton v. CMH Homes, Inc.

Opinion handed down May 26, 2015
        In Eaton v. CMH Homes, Inc. (“CMH”), Mr. Eaton contracted with CMH to purchase a manufactured home.[1]  On or around September 27, 2012, Mr. Eaton sued CMH for alleged defects in the home.[2]  Mr. Eaton’s complaint alleged fraud, negligence, breach of contract, and negligent misrepresentation.[3]
        CMH denied the allegations and moved to dismiss or stay the court action.  Further, CMH moved to enforce the arbitration agreement section of the contract by compelling arbitration between the parties.[4]  Mr. Eaton replied, arguing the arbitration agreement was unconscionable.[5] 
        The trial court overruled CMH’s motion to dismiss or stay the court action and compel arbitration.[6]  On appeal, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District affirmed the trial court’s holding.[7]  Upon transfer, the Supreme Court of Missouri held that the trial court erred in refusing to compel arbitration.[8]  The court noted that the anti-waiver clause of the arbitration agreement was unconscionable, but the clause did not render the entire agreement unenforceable.[9]

Friday, November 6, 2015

Gateway Taxi Management v. Division of Employment Security

Opinion handed down May 12, 2015
        A deputy of the Division of Employment Security (“DES”) determined that Gateway Taxi Management, d/b/a Laclede Cab Company (“Laclede”), owed unemployment taxes because Laclede’s drivers had performed services for “wages” and were “employees” of Laclede.[1]  Laclede appealed the DES decision to the appeals tribunal, which reversed the determination.[2]  Thereafter, the DES appealed to the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (“LIRC”), which reversed the appeals tribunal’s decision on the basis that Laclede’s drivers were employees.[3]  The instant decision followed, after the court of appeals issued an opinion and the Supreme Court of Missouri granted transfer.[4]  The Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed the LIRC’s ruling after finding that competent and substantial evidence supported the LIRC’s holdings that Laclede paid wages to its drivers for their services and that the drivers were employees of Laclede.[5]

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Spalding v. Stewart Title Guar. Co.

Opinion handed down May 12, 2015
Landowner, Randy Spalding, sued titled insurer, Stewart Title Guaranty Company, for breach of contract and vexatious refusal to pay an insurance claim relating to a defective title sold to Spalding.[1]  Spalding purchased 419 acres with plans to construct a lake development within the area.[2]  However, a third party owned the title to one of the 419 acres, preventing the lake development.[3]  In response to the sale of the defective title, Stewart assessed $10,000 of damages pursuant to their title insurance policy, which Spalding alleged was inadequate.[4]  After a jury trial, the trial court entered an amended judgment for Spalding for over $1,100,000.[5] Stewart Title appealed the judgment contending various errors by the trial court.[6]  The Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed the trial court’s judgment, holding that Spalding’s claim was not barred by a five-year statute of limitations, expert testimony from Spalding’s appraiser regarding damages was admissible, and the jury was not confused or misled by jury instructions on damages.[7]  This Summary will address the issue of admitting the appraisers of damages as expert testimony.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

State ex rel. Hewitt v. Kerr

Opinion handed down April 28, 2015

A former employee of the St. Louis Rams, Todd Hewitt, filed suit alleging age discrimination under the Missouri Human Rights Act.  The Rams then filed a motion to compel arbitration, and the Circuit Court for St. Louis County, under the Honorable Judge Kristine Kerr, granted the motion.  Hewitt then petitioned for a writ of mandamus seeking to prevent the circuit court from requiring arbitration.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ambers-Phillips v. SSM DePaul Health Center

Opinion handed down April 28, 2015
In June of 2013, Shonda Ambers-Phillips was experiencing pain in her side and underwent exploratory surgery.[1]  Doctors discovered pieces of medical equipment that were left in her  abdomen from an operation she underwent in 1999.[2]  A few months later, Ambers-Phillips filed a medical malpractice claim against the medical center that employed the doctors who allegedly left the pieces of medical equipment in her abdomen.[3]  The trial court sustained the defendant’s motion to dismiss, citing the ten-year statute of repose contained in a medical malpractice statute, Missouri Revised Statutes Section 516.105.[4]
The Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed, holding: (1) the statute of repose is not subject to equitable tolling;[5]  (2) the statute of repose in Section 516.105 does not violate the Missouri Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause or Open Courts Provision;[6] and (3) Section 516.105 does not violate due process and is not an invalid special law.[7]  This Summary will focus on the first holding regarding equitable tolling.