Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Newsome v. Kansas City Missouri Scool District

            It is important for the courts to recognize the public policy exception to at-will employment because it prevents employers from firing employees for following statutes and other rules.  The Supreme Court of Missouri first recognized a cause of action for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy in 2010.[1]  In Newsome, the Supreme Court of Missouri expanded the public policy exception to at-will employment.[2]  The court upheld an employee’s claim against a school district for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy when the employee refused to alter the school district’s contract in violation of the policy behind a statute.

Wilson v. P.B. Patel, M.D., P.C.

            The Supreme Court of Missouri overturned a jury verdict in favor of the defendant in a medical malpractice case, stating that evidence regarding the patient's informed consent to the procedure was not relevant and likely confused the jury.[1]  The court stated that the trial judge should have granted Plaintiff Josephine Wilson's request for a withdrawal instruction relating to the fact that she signed a consent form allowing Defendant Dr. Rohtashav Dhir to perform the procedure.[2]  The case was brought on improper care grounds and not on lack of informed consent grounds, which are separate and distinct theories of medical malpractice.[3]  This case note will examine the procedural issues raised when evidence is introduced by both parties on a different theory of negligence than what was presented in the pleadings and affirmative defenses.

Friday, March 24, 2017

State v. Naylor

 Opinion handed down March 14, 2017

            Orlando Naylor was convicted in the Circuit Court of Ste. Genevieve County of first-degree burglary for entering a restaurant’s office area while another person was present inside the building.[1]  The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, held that there was insufficient evidence to convict Naylor of this crime because no person was in the office area during the commission of the crime.[2]  On appeal to the Supreme Court of Missouri, the court expanded the definition of the term “structure,” thus reversing the appellate court’s decision.[3]

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cooperative Home Care, Inc. v. City of St. Louis,

 Opinion handed down February 28, 2017

            In Cooperative Home Care, Inc. v. City of St. Louis, the Supreme Court of Missouri examined whether the Missouri state minimum wage law preempts cities and municipalities from adopting a higher local minimum wage.[1]  The court held that the Missouri state minimum wage was a floor, rather than a ceiling, which allows cities to adopt ordinances that require employers to pay a higher hourly wage than that required by state law.[2]  However, recent legislation may effectively overturn this decision, adversely affecting low-wage workers in areas with higher average costs of living, particularly those in urban areas.

Friday, February 24, 2017

State v. Twitty

 Opinion handed down January 17, 2017

While it may be a seemingly straightforward crime, “possession of a chemical with the intent to create a controlled substance”[1] leaves significant lingering discord among Missouri courts regarding whether the requisite element of possession strictly refers to possession at the time of the arrest or whether it allows for more flexible temporal ranges.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

State ex rel. Tipler v. Gardner

Opinion handed down January 31, 2017
            In State ex rel. Tipler v. Gardner, the Supreme Court of Missouri held that article I, section 18(c) of the Missouri Constitution applies to all trials that occur after its enactment date, December 4, 2014, regardless of the date when the charged conduct occurred.[1]  The constitutional provision at issue, passed into law by Missouri voters in the 2014 general election, allows evidence of prior criminal acts, charged or uncharged, to be introduced at trial for crimes of a sexual nature involving a child.[2]  Tipler had argued that this provision operated as an ex post facto law because the alleged crime occurred before this constitutional amendment was passed into law by Missouri voters.[3]  The court’s holding is an affirmation of the long-held principle that laws that affect evidentiary rules only are not ex post facto because the “event” that they modify is the trial itself, not the conduct which gave rise to the trial.

Monday, January 23, 2017

State v. Holman

Opinion handed down December 6, 2016
After fatally shooting his wife, David Holman (“Defendant”) was read his Miranda rights and proceeded to talk with law enforcement officials, giving incriminating statements.[1]  Only when asked to sign a search consent form to his home, did Defendant state, “I ain’t signing shit without my attorney.”[2]  On interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court of Missouri held that the Defendant did not clearly and unequivocally invoke his Fifth Amendment right to counsel after being read his Miranda rights and reversed the decision of the lower court.[3]

Thursday, January 19, 2017

City of Kansas City v. Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners

Opinion handed down January 17, 2017

            In an effort to raise Kansas City’s minimum wage from $7.70 an hour to $13 an hour by 2023, a committee in support of such attempted to bring the issue up for a vote on the November 3, 2015, ballot.  On appeal from a trial court’s decision denying the measure to be brought on the ballot, the Supreme Court of Missouri held that any challenge to the ordinance was premature and reversed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

State v. Bazell

Opinion handed down August 23, 2016 

            The Supreme Court of Missouri held that misdemeanor stealing offenses could not be enhanced to felonies under Missouri Revised Statutes section 570.030.3 because the enhancement provision was worded in such a way that rendered it inapplicable to the underlying stealing statute.[1]  The court’s ruling is based on a matter of statutory construction that was not addressed on appeal nor initially briefed by either party on transfer to the Supreme Court of Missouri.[2] 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lopez-Matias v. State

 Opinion handed down December 8, 2016

            In Lopez-Matias v. State, the Supreme Court of Missouri examined whether the denial of the right to be released on bail or other surety to individuals who are unable to provide proof of their lawful presence in the United States violated the Constitution of the State of Missouri.[1]  Ultimately, the court held that the requirement was unconstitutional, as it denied the defendant his constitutional right to have his conditions for release examined on an individual basis, in which the particular circumstances of his case could be analyzed.[2]