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Legal Articles

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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Misappropriation of Name or Likeness

Misappropriation of name or likeness is one of the four general invasion of privacy tort claims (the others being false light invasion of privacy, intrusion upon seclusion and publication of private facts). The interest protected by the misappropriation of name or likeness tort “is the interest of the individual in the exclusive use of his […]

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Contract Penalty Provisions and Clauses

Liquidated damage clauses in contracts are enforceable, while penalty clauses are not. Paragon Group, Inc. v. Ampleman, 878 S.W.2d 878, 880 (Mo. Ct. App. 1994). The reason for this is that the policy behind remedies in the event of a breach of contract is to effect compensation, not a penalty. Luna v. Smith, 861 S.W.2d […]

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Trustees, Personal Liability

Asset protection is a big reason individuals will sometimes create a trust. A lot of the focus in such situations is on making sure a beneficiary’s interest in a trust estate is outside the purview of creditors. To that end, trusts often utilize spendthrift provisions. A spendthrift provision is language in a trust that prevents […]

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Partnership Property, Creditors

One of the benefits of a limited partnership is to protect against liabilities. A partner’s individual creditors cannot attach or encumber partnership property to satisfy a partner’s individual debt. Section 358.250, RSMo; Anchor Centre Partners, Ltd. v. Mercantile Bank, N.A., 803 S.W.23, 31 (Mo. 1991). This flows from a partner’s inability to assign his or […]

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Preserving a Motion for JNOV

A motion for judgement notwithstanding the verdict (“JNOV”) is an after trial motion where a party asks the Court to overturn the jury’s verdict. The issue with a JNOV focuses on whether a plaintiff made a submissible case — that is, one which presents substantial evidence for every fact essential to liability. Payne v. Cornhusker […]

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Escrow Agreements, Breach of Escrow

Escrow is a term generally used in the context of real estate transactions. A conditional delivery, or delivery in “escrow,” means that delivery is conditioned upon the performance of some act or the occurrence of some event. Hammack v. Coffelt Land Title Inc., 348 S.W.3d 75, 81 (Mo. Ct. App. 2011). It is the same […]

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Lease Options for Renewal, Contracts

Lease contracts, whether they be residential or commercial, will often have an option provision where a tenant can automatically renew the lease-term for some period of time. Subject to the terms of the contract/lease, a tenant’s renewal must indicate a definite and unqualified determination to exercise the option. Behlman v. Weeks, 150 S.W.3d 153, 156 […]

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Modification of Trust Because of Unanticipated Circumstances

Under Section 456.4-412, RSMo, the Court may modify an irrevocable trust if, because of circumstances not anticipated by the settlor/trust-maker, the modification or termination will further the purposes of the trust. This statute obviously adds great flexibility to the Court’s ability to change the terms of a trust. This was largely in response to situations […]

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Not Supported by Substantial Evidence, Against the Weight of the Evidence

When appealing a trial decided by a judge (as opposed to a jury), an appeals court will usually only reverse the trial judge’s judgement if there is no substantial evidence to support it, it is against the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the law. Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, […]

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