Friday, February 26, 2016

Bate v. Greenwich Ins. Co.

Opinion handed down June 16, 2015
Ray Charles Bate and Deborah Bate were both majorly injured in a car accident.[2]  The Bates sued Greenwich Insurance Company (“Greenwich”), an authorized foreign insurance company under Missouri law.[3]  The Director of Missouri Department of Insurance (“Director”) was designated as Greenwich’s registered agent for acceptance of service of process within the state.[4]  The Director was served, and the Director forwarded the paperwork to Greenwich via first-class mail.[5]  Greenwich did not respond to the suit, and default judgment was entered in favor of the Bates.[6]  Over two years later, Greenwich made a limited appearance and filed an amended motion to set aside the default judgment as void.[7]  The trial court agreed with Greenwich and set aside the default judgment as void[8]  The Supreme Court of Missouri reversed the trial court’s finding, holding the service was proper under Missouri law.[9]

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Golan v. Veritas Entm’t, LLC

Opinion handed down June 8, 2015
Link to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion
Ron and Dorit Golan, of Chesterfield, Missouri, received two recorded messages on their home voicemail in September of 2012.[1]  The messages were identical, stating: “Liberty. This is a public survey call.  We may call back later.”[2]  The Golans considered these messages to constitute a telemarketing scheme promoting a film called “Last Ounce of Courage.”[3]  Such a campaign was alleged to stand in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 227, as well as the Missouri Do Not Call Law, Missouri Revised Statutes Section 407.1098.[4]  The Golans filed a putative class action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.[5]  The district court dismissed the suit with prejudice, stating that the Golans lacked standing and, further, were inadequate class representatives.[6]  The Golans appealed, which is the subject discussed herein.[7]

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Minden v. Atain Specialty Ins. Co.

Opinion handed down May 26, 2015
After leaving a friend's party at a bar, Daniel Minden (“Daniel”) was knocked airborne and run over by a vehicle driven by Curtis Lammert and later died from those injuries.[1]  His children (“Minden”) brought claims against the bar.  Atain Specialty Insurance Co. (“Atain”), the bar's insurer, failed to participate in the mediation between the Mindens and the bar, which ultimately resulted in a settlement and consent judgment and an assignment of claims against Atain from the bar to the Mindens.[2]  The Mindens brought suit against Atain in federal district court and on motions for summary judgment, succeeded on their equitable garnishment claim, but their vexatious refusal claim was rejected.[3]  On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the trial court’s judgment in a decision focusing heavily on the interpretation of the insurance policy between the bar and Atain.[4]

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

State v. Amick

Opinion handed down June 16, 2015
Michael Amick appealed a judgment of conviction for second-degree murder and second-degree arson.[1]  The Supreme Court of Missouri reversed the judgment and remanded the case, holding the trial court violated Missouri Revised Statutes Section 494.485 by substituting a discharged alternate juror after the jury already began its deliberations.[2]

Monday, February 22, 2016

Banks v. Slay

Opinion handed down June 19, 2015
        Banks v. Slay[1] presents a case that may bring back haunting memories of one’s first-year civil procedure class.  The fact pattern in Banks presents a law-exam-worthy catch-all complete with default judgments, writs of mandamus, declaratory judgments, and questions of federal subject matter jurisdiction.  All of these issues presented under the guise of police misconduct make for an interesting and noteworthy decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Rosemann v. Sigillito

Opinion filed May 4, 2015
        In 2012, Phil Rosemann filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri against Martin Sigillito alleging legal malpractice.[1]  Rosemann had hired Sigillito to counsel him in foreign investments.[2]  One of the investments failed and Rosemann brought suit, alleging Sigillito had failed to exercise “the reasonable degree of knowledge and skill that is ordinarily possessed and exercised by attorneys in the preparation of a Promissory Note.”[3]  The district court granted summary judgment for Sigillito because Rosemann “failed to name an expert [in discovery] who would testify about the appropriate standard of care.”[4] 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

United States v. Beckman

Opinion handed down May 15, 2015
        In 2013, Paul Beckman pled guilty to possession of child pornography after having been previously convicted of the same offense in 2001.[1]  The district court ordered Beckman to pay $9000 in restitution and sentenced him to 120 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release.[2]  On appeal, Beckman claimed the district court erred in: (1) denying his motion to suppress evidence relating to documents and files found on an external hard drive resulting from an illegal search; (2) denying his motion to suppress evidence in violation of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41; and (3) ordering restitution in the amount of $9000.[3]  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision.[4]

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

St. Louis Effort for AIDS v. Huff

Opinion handed down April 10, 2015

             Following the passing of the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), the Missouri legislature passed the Health Insurance Marketplace Innovation Act (“HIMIA”), seeking to regulate certain aspects of health care exchanges within the state of Missouri.[1] Acting under the authority of the ACA, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) promulgated regulations that conflicted with the Missouri laws pertaining to healthcare marked facilitators.[2]  The petitioners, a group of healthcare-related organizations and businesses, challenged the HIMIA, seeking a preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of the HIMIA that were contrary to federal law.[3]  The district court granted the preliminary injunction and enjoined the HIMIA from being enforced in its entirety.[4]

              The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part, holding: (1) the petitioners were likely to succeed on their claims that three specific provisions of the HIMIA were preempted by federal regulation; and (2) the preempted specific provisions of the HIMIA were severable from the remainder of the Missouri law, resulting in a preliminary injunction only enjoining the State from enforcing the three challenged provisions, leaving the remainder of the HIMIA in effect.[5] 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Askew v. United States

Opinion handed down on May 26, 2015

In February 2009, Dirk Askew underwent surgery at John Cochran Veterans Administration (“VA”) hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.[1]  Askew was readmitted later in that month with complications.[2]  The VA responded negligently to the complications, which led to severe injuries for Askew.[3]    Askew and his wife sued the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) and requested a high amount of damages in a case tried only on the issue of damages.[4]  Askew requested future medical damages to compensate him for medical expenses that he would incur after judgment.[5]  The government requested that the court structure the future medical damages as a reversionary trust that would provide periodic payments to Askew and create a reversionary interest for the United States, where the unspent funds would revert back to the United States upon Askew’s death.[6]  The district court declined to order a reversionary trust structure for future medical damages under the reasoning that the government failed to show it was in the best interest of the injured party, Askew.[7]  The district court awarded the Askews over $8.25 million worth in damages.[8]  The United States appealed the holding of the district court, arguing that the district court erred by failing to itemize Askew’s future medical damages and by refusing to create the reversionary trust for the award of future medical damages.[9]  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings.[10]

Saturday, February 13, 2016

In re O & S Trucking, Inc.

Opinion handed down April 7, 2015

In May 2012, O & S Trucking, Inc. (“O&S”) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri.[1]  During its bankruptcy proceedings, there was some dispute about the valuation of certain trucks O&S owned but in which a third party had a security interest.  O&S sought to appeal interlocutory orders valuating the trucks, but the Bankruptcy Court confirmed O&S’s allegedly erroneous bankruptcy plan. O&S then sought to appeal the court order confirming its plan, but the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit dismissed the appeal, holding that O&S did not have standing to appeal a court order confirming O&S’s own plan, and that O&S’s arguments were moot.