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Category: Civil Litigation, Real Estate

Witness Credibility

Credibility is important in litigation, practically and from a substantive legal perspective. Practically, if you don’t come across as likeable or believable, then you’re likely going to have a difficult time convincing a judge or jury that what you’re saying is true. Legally, appellate courts are very deferential to trial court or jury determinations of […]

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Jury Instruction Errors, Verdict Reversal

For jury trials in Missouri state court, parties are required to use the appropriate Missouri Approved Instruction (MAI) for the claims and defenses submitted to the jury for determination. This is not necessarily a straightforward process. There are many instances in which there is not a specific MAI for a certain type of claim or […]

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Lost Profits, Income, Consequential Damages

Lost profits, income or revenue often form a major component of a plaintiff’s damages in business disputes, contract disputes and employment disputes. Loss of profits generally means the amount of money a plaintiff would have realized but for the Defendant’s conduct. Meridian Enters. Corp. v. KCBS, Inc., 910 S.W.2d 329, 331 (Mo. Ct. App. 1995). For […]

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Contribution, Joint Liability

A common defense of a defendant in a civil lawsuit is that another third-party is partially responsible for any harm caused. Defendants, therefore, will often plead and argue for “contribution” when more than one person is potentially at fault. Missouri law is clear that when “two or more persons become liable in tort to the […]

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Plain Error Review, Appeals

Appeals have their own set of rules and procedures. Generally, an appellate court will overturn a trial court’s decision only if there was some issue the trial court was made aware of and decided incorrectly. Appellate courts are reluctant and/or unable to overturn a trial court’s judgment on issues that were not before it. By way […]

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Deed Delivery, Recording

Deeds are the legal documents used to convey ownership and title to land. “Delivery” of the deed gives the instrument force and effect. Rhodes v. Hunt, 913 S.W.2d 894 900 (Mo. Ct. App. 1995). “Delivery signifies that all dominion and control over the deed is passed from the grantor (i.e., the person conveying the property) to […]

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Real Estate Easements, Merger Doctrine

An easement does not carry any title to the land over which it is exericised; rather, it is a right to use land for particular purposes. Blackburn Habitat Dev. Co., 57 S.W.3d 378, 389 (Mo. Ct. App. 2001). For express easement created by a formal agreement or grant, any words clearly showing the intention of the […]

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Quantum Meruit versus Unjust Enrichment

Although the two are often confused and melded together, quantum meruit and unjust enrichment are distinct legal theories which can form the basis for a lawsuit. In practice, they are often pleaded and argued together; however, they have different measures of damages.  Quantum meruit requires that the plaintiff prove: (1) he provided the defendant with […]

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Venue Transfer

In Missouri, “venue” refers to the county in which a suit is filed or should be filed. There are certain rules dictating where certain types of cases should be filed. There are separate rules stating when cases may be transferred to another venue/county.  Under Rule 51.03, for instance, a party can be granted a change […]

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Election of Remedies, Inconsistent Theories of Recovery

Some matters in the law only really lawyers care to think about. Examples of this are the rules of (1) election of remedies and (2) election of inconsistent theories of recovery.  The election of remedies doctrine is where a party has the right to pursue one of two inconsistent remedies and makes an election, institutes suit, and […]

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