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Legal Articles

Measuring Damages to Real Property

In tort cases dealing with injuries to real estate (e.g., trespass, nuisance, inverse condemnation, etc.), the measure of damages is the difference in the fair market value of the property before and after the injury or the cost of restoring the property — whichever is the lesser amount. Farmer’s Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Farmer, 795 S.W.2d […]

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Determining Heirs in a Probate Proceeding

While rare, there is a procedure in the probate code to determine whether an individual is the child of a deceased person for purposes of probate inheritance and succession. Obviously, it typically only comes into play when there is uncertainty regarding paternity.  Assuming there is not a marriage or other legal presumption of a parent-child […]

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Refusal to Answer Deposition Questions in Federal Court

Rule 26(b)(1) permits parties to “obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense” and proportional to the scope of the case. Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case.“[T]rial courts retain […]

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Photographic Evidence, Admissibility

Visual aides are often very persuasive with judges and juries at trial. To that end, parties will sometimes use photographs and videos as evidence at trial.  In determining whether a photograph is legally relevant, material and admissible as evidence, a court has discretion. McCutcheon v. Cape Mobile Home Mart, 796 S.W.2d 901, 907 (Mo. Ct. App. […]

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Asset Purchase, Liability Assumption

When one business purchases the equity (e.g., shares, ownership interest, etc.) of another business, the purchasing business typically obtains the liabilities of the business as well. In contrast, when a business generally purchases the assets of another business, the liabilities are usually not transferred.  There are at least four exceptions to this rule regarding asset […]

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Trustee Removal without Cause

Although it is not as frequently utilized as the “for cause” removal provisions — e.g., serious breach of trust, unfitness/failure to administer, lack of cooperation between cotrustees — Missouri trust law does permit a trustee to be removed without cause in certain situations. Under Section 456.7-704.2(4), the Court has discretion to remove a trustee if […]

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Default, Notices

A party is in default when the party fails to make a response to a petition/lawsuit in Missouri. Other than the obvious downside of a default judgment, a defaulting party is not entitled to all notices when in default, either. Under Rule 43.01(a), parties are to be served with every pleading subject to the original […]

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Covenant Not to Sue, Releases

While not as common as a contractual release of claims, a contract may contains a covenant not to sue. Despite it being technically different, Missouri courts generally consider a covenant not to sue a release for purposes of determining its legal effect. Montrose Sav. Bank v. Landers, 675 S.W.2d 668, 670-71 (Mo. Ct. App. 1984). […]

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Real Estate Descriptions in Quiet Title Judgments

In quiet title lawsuits, Missouri requires that the judgment describe the affected real estate with reasonable certainty. Patterson v. Harrison, 46 S.W.3d 580, 581 (Mo. Ct. App. 2001). Every party to a quiet title suit has a right to have their respective titles affirmatively adjudged and declared. Turkey Mountain Airport, Inc. v. Estate of Faler, […]

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Shareholder Oppression, Fiduciary Duties

If a plaintiff in a corporation can demonstrate that there is shareholder oppression, then the plaintiff may be entitled to equitable relief. When does shareholder oppression exist? It typically occurs when an action by the majority suggests burdensome, harsh and wrongful conduct; a lack of honesty and fair dealing in the affairs of the company; […]

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