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Category: Civil Litigation, Real Estate

Partition Sales of Real Estate in Missouri

When real estate is owned by more than one person or entity, it is possible to file a partition lawsuit to force the sale or division of the real estate. While it is possible for a court to decide to partition real estate into separate parcels and give them to the owners in proportion to […]

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Adverse Evidentiary Inferences

At trial, it is key to know what evidence affirmatively proves or disproves an element of a claim. In some situations, an adverse evidentiary inference instruction can be made or argued for to show that missing evidence would be favorable or unfavorable to a certain position. Two prominent examples in civil cases as to when […]

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Bad Faith Refusal to Settle

Though rarely asserted, there is such a claim as suing an insurance for bad faith for failure to settle a claim. Zumwalt v. Utilities Insurance Co., 228 S.W.2d 750, (Mo. 1950). This is technically different than a statutory vexatious refusal to pay claim. What constitutes “bad faith” for purposes of this claim? As a general matter, […]

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Special Circumstances Exception to Attorney Fees

There are exceptions to the general rule that a party/litigant must cover its attorney fees in litigation regardless of the outcome. The exceptions are when (1) fees are authorized by statute or contract, (2) very unusual circumstances exist so it may be said equity demands a balance of benefits, (3) the fees result from an […]

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Right to Jury Trial; Jury Trial Waiver

Both the Missouri Constitution and US Constitution guarantee the right to trial by jury in certain cases. In Missouri, the right to a jury trial is “implied in all cases in which an issue of fact, in an action for the recovery of money only, is inolved, whether the right is one at common law […]

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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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