Sunday, August 13, 2017

Willbanks v. State Department of Corrections

In Graham v. Florida, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the imposition of a life without parole sentence on a juvenile offender convicted for a nonhomicide offense.[1] The Supreme Court declined to answer whether any terms of years sentence would violate the Eighth Amendment, giving lower courts no guidance on the issue. Without any guidance from the Supreme Court or the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the Supreme Court of Missouri in Willbanks narrowly read Graham and held that terms of years sentences for nonhomicide offenses, which leave a juvenile no realistic opportunity for parole, do not violate the defendant’s Eighth Amendment rights.[2]

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Bishop & Associates, LLC v. Ameren Corp.

          After reporting possible issues with facilities owned by Ameren Corporation (“Ameren”), its plumbing contractor’s (“Bishop”) long-time employment with Ameren was terminated. When Bishop filed suit against Ameren for a public policy violation, the Supreme Court of Missouri, upon transfer, held that there is no common law cause of action for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy for independent contractors, affirming the circuit court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of Ameren and its supervisors. The Court held that the narrow public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine only applies in the employee-employer context, which excludes independent contractors.

Bowers v. Bowers

            The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, decision in Bowers v. Bowers sets a troubling precedent for all parties involved in custody battles when there are more than two "parents" hoping to secure parenting time with their minor children. The complex nature of custody cases is further complicated with this new precedent that gives additional weight to the rights of non-biological parents and other third-party individuals hoping to obtain custody of minor children involved in litigation.