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Legal Articles

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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Undue Influence in Wills, Trusts, Deeds, Nonprobate Transfers: Factors

Wills, trusts, deeds, and nonprobate transfers (e.g., beneficiary designations, transfer on death or payable on death arrangements) are sometimes challenged on the basis of undue influence. Undue influence is when one individual induces another by “active conduct” to provide a substantial benefit through the transfer of property. Undue influence cases are evaluated on a case-by-case […]

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LLC Derivative Action Attorney Fees

A derivative action in limited liability company (“LLC”) litigation is generally when a member (i.e., owner) brings an action against the manager or managing member for causing a loss to the LLC. The action is “derivative” in that the member is suing on behalf of the LLC to recover an injury that the LLC sustained. […]

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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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Ultra Vires Actions, Corporate & Business Litigation

There’s a general principle in corporate and business litigation — the “business judgment rule” — which generally means that courts will not interfere in the management of the internal affairs of a corporation. Golden v. St. Joseph Milke Producers’ Association, 420 S.W.2d 31, 33 (Mo. Ct. App. 1967). For the Court to intervene, there must be […]

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Trade Secret Disputes, Damages, Misappropriation

Trade secret litigation (often used interchangeably with confidential information) usually centers on an individual misappropriating and/or unfairly using a businesses trade secret to the detriment of a business. A “trade secret” can include “any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in one’s business, and which gives him an opportunity to obtain […]

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Contract Termination, First Material Breach of Contract

Contracts sometimes include provisions allowing one party to terminate a contract if the other party is not living up to its end of the bargain. The termination provision usually allows the party to cancel without further liability if certain circumstances exist (e.g., the goods/services being provided do not meet certain standards or are otherwise insufficient). […]

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Precatory Language

In the context of estates and civil litigation, precatory language is language requesting, recommending, or expressing a desire rather than a command. Precatory words can include “wish,” “will,” “will and desire” and “request.” Rouner v. Wise, 446 S.W.3d 242, 256 (Mo. 2014). In Missouri, courts are reluctant to find the existence of a trust when precatory […]

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