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Fraud and Misrepresentation: Facts and Opinions

In most claims for fraud — whether it be intentional misrepresentation or negligent misrepresentation — a party claiming the fraud must prove that the other party intentionally or unintentionally provided false, factual information that was material. Statements of opinions are usually not actionable for fraud. When the car salesmen tells you that a particular vehicle […]

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Trust Fraud Challenge

Lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence are the two most common bases for challenging the validity of a revocable living trust. Though rare, however, it is possible to challenge a trust based on fraud. A trust is void to the extents its creation was induced by fraud, duress or undue influence. Section 456.4-406 RSMo. […]

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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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Undue Influence & Fraud Presumptions in Estate Litigation

Undue influence is a legal concept that occurs when a third-party coerces and improperly influences another person to sign a document or make a property conveyance. It exists when the influencer destroys the will of the signer to where the influencer’s will is substituted for the signer’s will. Because in such cases the wishes expressed in the […]

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Attachment, Missouri Judgment Collection

Under Missouri procedural rules, an “attachment” is a prejudgment remedy by which property can be taken into custody to satisfy an anticipated judgment. It does not create a right to a judgment or debt. Instead, it provides a means of enforcing a judgment. In essence, an attachment is designed to allow a plaintiff take control of […]

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Business Judgment Rule

In Missouri, the “Business Judgment Rule” is a legal principle which protects directors and officers of a corporation from liability for decisions made within the director’s or officer’s authority that are made in good faith and uninfluenced by any other consideration than the honest belief that the action serves the best interests of the corporation. Betty […]

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Personal Liability for Corporate Officers and Directors

One of the traditional benefits of a corporation is that it generally shields its shareholders, directors and officers from the liabilities of the corporation. Indeed, merely holding a corporate officer in Missouri does not subject one to personal liability for the misdeeds of the corporation. Grothe v. Helterbrand, 946 S.W.2d 301, 304 (Mo. Ct. App. 1997). […]

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Fraud & Statute of Limitations

If a claim is not brought within the correct limitations period, it is barred. The statute of limitations analysis is not always easy, particularly for fraud/intentional misrepresentation. Fraud has nine elements:  (1) a representation; (2) its falsity; (3) its materiality; (4) the speaker’s knowledge of its falsity or ignorance of its truth; (5) the speaker’s intent […]

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The Attorney-Client Privilege in Estate, Trust and Will Litigation

Evidence is important in all litigation, but it is especially important in estate litigation because it can be hard to acquire. In cases involving claims that an estate document is invalid because of fraud, duress, lack of capacity or undue influence, there is rarely direct evidence; thus, the plaintiff must often rely on circumstantial, indirect evidence.  […]

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Marital Property Division: Disclosure, Omission, Fraud, Mistake

Whether intentionally as part of a scheme to conceal and defraud, or an honest oversight, omissions occur in property disclosure statements and divorce decrees. In Missouri, the division of marital property — essentially all property and debt accrued/accumulated during the course of a marriage — is final and is not subject to division. Section 452.360.2, […]

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