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Category: Civil Litigation, Real Estate

Injunctive Relief

An injunction is an order from the court to refrain from certain conduct or to perform some certain act(s). It is a form of equitable relief. In contrast, legal relief usually comes in the form of money damages to compensate someone for an injury. Equitable relief is typically appropriate when monetary relief would be inadequate. […]

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Regulatory Taking, Eminent Domain, Real Property

Both the Missouri and US Constitutions prohibit the “taking” of private property without just compensation. A “taking” can occur in a variety of situations. It is not just when a government seizes possession of property. A “regulatory taking” occurs when a government regulation goes too far. Clay County ex rel. County Com’n v. Harley and […]

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Offer of Proof, Evidence

Trials require evidence by a party to establish his or her claims or defenses. Only admissible evidence is permitted. Admissible evidence must generally be relevant, legally and logically. “Logical relevance” is the tendency to “make the existence of a material fact more or less probable.” State v. Freeman, 269 S.W.3d 422, 426 (Mo. 2008). “Legal […]

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Medical Testimony, Experts

Depending on the nature of the case (e.g., medical malpractice, trust/will challenges for lack of capacity or undue influence, etc.), medical testimony is often crucial. The qualification of a physician as an expert is generally within the trial court’s substantial discretion. Ponciroli v. Wyrick, 573 S.W.2d 731, 735 (Mo.Ct.App.1978). Generally, a practicing physician, even when […]

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Best Evidence Rule, Original Documentation

The best evidence rule generally requires that only original documentation may be admitted as evidence at trial to show the terms of the document/writing. A duplicate is not admissible under the best evidence rule. Interstate Distrib., Inc. v. Freeman, 904 S.W.2d 481,, 484 (Mo. Ct. App. 1995). It is a narrow rule and only applies […]

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Law of the Case Doctrine, Re-litigation

There are numerous legal theories and arguments which prohibit the re-litigation of certain issues that were previously decided (e.g, collateral estoppel, res judicata). One such theory — the “law-of-the-case doctrine” — dictates that a previous holding or finding in a case constitutes the law of the case and precludes re-litigation of the issue on remand […]

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Mary Carter Agreements, Litigation Settlements

In multi-party litigation, sometimes some but not all parties will reach a settlement agreement. These are broadly referred to as “Mary Carter Agreements.” They can be signed for any number of reasons strategically. The Missouri Supreme Court has found that a typical Mary Carter agreement has the following features: 1) The liability of the settling […]

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Timely Notification, Insurance Policy

To claim benefits under an insurance policy, you generally must comply with all of the obligations under the policy on your end. This includes timely notification of a claim. What is considered “timely notice”? It will depend on the language of the insurance policy, but, without any more clear deadline, the insured must provide prompt […]

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Convictions, Cross-Examination, Impeachment

When a witness is being cross-examined, it is generally considered fair game to attempt to impeach or discredit the witness by asking about any criminal convictions. Section 491.050, RSMo provides in relevant part: “any prior criminal convictions may be proved to affect [witness] credibility in a civil or criminal case and, further, any prior pleas […]

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Cross-Examination, Credibility, Impeachment

Credibility is always critical at trial. If a judge or jury does not find you credible, then they do not have to believe your testimony or claims. For this reason, the credibility of a witness is always relevant in a lawsuit. Mitchell v. Kardesch, 313 S.W.3d 667, 675 (Mo. 2010). After a witness testifies on […]

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