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Category: Civil Litigation, Real Estate

Riparian Rights

Riparian rights refers to a landowner’s rights to water on or adjacent to his or her property. When one is a riparian owner, one has certain rights, including the right to swim, boat and fish in and on the waters, to take water for domestic use only, to skate and ride on ice, and to […]

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Disqualification of Counsel, Attorney; Conflict of Interest

Attorneys have a duty of loyalty to their clients and must work in the client’s best interests. For this reason, it is obvious that an attorney cannot simultaneously represent both a plaintiff and a defendant in the same lawsuit. Things become much more murky when a lawyer represents a client in one matter and then […]

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Defamation: Privilege Defenses

Defamation consists of (1) publication of a (2) defamatory statement that (3) identifies the plaintiff, (4) is false, (5) that is published with the requisite degree of fault and (6) damages to the plaintiff’s reputation. Nazeri v. Missouri Valley College, 860 S.W.2d 303 (Mo. 1993). There are, among others, two prominent defenses that a defense […]

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Closing Arguments

Closing arguments in a jury trial is often the best time an attorney can persuade the jury. The evidence has been heard and there is an opportunity for an attorney, unlike when examining a witness on direct or cross-examination, to directly tell the jury (or judge) why the evidence justifies a decision in one party’s […]

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Option Rights and Preemptive Rights in Contracts

Contracts can have option rights or preemptive rights. An option, in the context of real estate, usually gives a person a power to compel the owner of the property to sell it at a stipulated price whether or not he or she is willing to part with ownership. Anderson v. Parker, 351 S.W.3d 82, 831 […]

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Exceptions to Sovereign Immunity

In almost any lawsuit against a governmental entity, the government will argue that it is immune from the suit under sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity insulates the government from most suits for money damages. At the state level in Missouri, however, there are numerous exceptions to sovereign immunity in Section 537.600, RSMo. For instance, under Section […]

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Quotient Verdicts, Juries

In civil cases in Missouri, verdicts generally require nine of twelve jurors — and the verdict must be based on a preponderance of the evidence. This is in contrast to criminal jury verdicts which require unanimity — and a conclusion that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases, quotient verdicts are […]

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Intra-Corporate Immunity, Defamation

Defamation generally consists of a (1) publication, (2) a defamatory statement, that (3) identifies the plaintiff, that is (4) false, that is (5) published with the requisite degree of fault and (6) damages to the plaintiff’s reputation. Nazeri v. Missouri Valley College, 860 S.W.2d 303 (Mo. banc 1993). The publication must be to a third-person. […]

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Breach of Contract: Specific Performance Versus Damages

When a breach of contract occurs, the general rule is that, in certain cases, the remedy is either a suit for damages or a suit for specific performance of the contract. Magruder v. Pauley, 411 S.W.3d 323, 331 (Mo. Ct. App. 2013). The suit for damages would provide the non-breaching party with money, whereas the […]

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