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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Defending Motions for Civil Contempt, Appeals

For motions for contempt, the movant must prove that the (1) contemnor had an obligation to perform or refrain from an action as required by a court order and that (2) the contemnor intentionally/willfully failed to meet the court ordered obligation. Broadly speaking, someone can be held in either criminal contempt of court or civil […]

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Oral Contracts, Partial Performance, Statute of Frauds

Many types of contracts have to be in writing and signed by the party sought to be charged to be enforceable in Court. Examples of such contracts include agreements for an interest in real estate and contracts that take longer than one (1) year to complete. Frequently, individuals will try to make claims for breach […]

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Contractual & Equitable Indemnity/Indemnification

 “Indemnity” or “indemnification” is the legal term for the shifting of responsibility from one party to another. Beller v. Martin, 306 S.W.3d 108, 110 (Mo. Ct. App. 2010). In contract law, a common indemnification provision (frequently called a “hold harmless” clause”) will provide that in the event one person is held liable or sought to be held […]

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Ordinary Shareholder Relief: Removal of Corporate Directors & Officers

Although priority will generally be given to a corporation’s bylaws and shareholder vote, Missouri law has several safeguards that protect minority shareholders in closely held corporations. To give examples, if a shareholder can prove that the (1) directors or those in control of the corporation have acted, are acting, or will act illegally, oppressively, fraudulently […]

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Nominal Damages

Broadly speaking, there are three types of damages in Missouri: (a) compensatory damages, (b) punitive damages and (c) nominal damages. Compensatory damages often form the core of a damages award. With compensatory damages, the goal of a court/jury is to award an amount of money damages that makes the plaintiff whole; specifically, the court/jury is […]

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Equitable Contribution: Promissory Notes, Contracts, Guarantees

Contribution is an equitable remedy that often arises between co-debtors. While contribution may generally applies where one or more individuals shares a common burden, the focus here is on a common between co-debtors/co-guarantors. Missouri District Telegraph Co. v. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., 93 S.W.2d 19, 23 (Mo. 1935). Contribution is grounded in case precedent. Commercial Union Insurance […]

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Transfers in Fraud of Marital Rights

Estate administration laws have several different pitfalls which can vastly change a probate estate. One of the more interesting scenarios that can occur is when a surviving spouse of a decedent attempts to nullify a conveyance for being “in fraud of marital rights.” The right to attack a conveyance in fraud of marital rights was developed […]

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Equitable Accounting, Fiduciary Relationships

One of the inherent equitable powers of a court is to order that a party provide an accounting. There are four elements required to establish equitable jurisdiction for an accounting: (1) the need for discovery, (2) the complicated nature of the accounts, (3) the existence of a fiduciary relationship, and (4) the inadequacy of legal […]

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