101 South Hanley, Suite 1280 Clayton, MO 63105
314.283.8930; henry@elsterlaw.com

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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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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Trust Protector: Powers, Duties, Limitations

An increasingly common technique used in trusts is to designate a trust protector. A trust protector is different than the settlor, trustee and beneficiary. Because the trust protector concept is relatively new, there has been uncertainty regarding the trust protector’s authority in trust administration, litigation and breach of trust suits. To address this uncertainty, Missouri […]

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Abatement, Multiple Lawsuits

Because of procedural rules and/or general litigation strategy, more than one lawsuit is sometimes filed in a different court. In certain circumstances, “abatement” limits subsequent or separate lawsuits. Under abatement (a/k/a “pending action doctrine”), when a claim involves the same subject matter and parties as a previously filed suit so that the facts and issues […]

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Corporate Dissolution & Discontinuance, Shareholder Disagreement

There are a number of ways a corporation can be dissolved through a lawsuit in Missouri. Some of the methods depend on the nature of the corporation (e.g., close corporation, statutory close corporation). There are a few which further depend on whether the directors, officers and/or shareholders are in a “gridlock” or “stalemate” with respect […]

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Failure to Prosecute with Due Diligence

Litigation is time consuming and expensive. While it varies from case-to-case, the court imposed deadlines and legal delay tactics can sometimes unduly prolong proceedings. In certain circumstances, the court can unilaterally dismiss a case if it determines that the plaintiff is not expeditiously pursuing the claims. Indeed, trial courts have an inherent power to dismiss […]

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Amending a Petition/Lawsuit

In Missouri, a “Petition” is the lawsuit filed by a plaintiff requesting relief against a defendant (often in the form of money damages). It is called a “Complaint” in federal court, but they’re functionally the same thing. It is quite common for a petition to be amended to account for facts uncovered in discovery or […]

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Trust Litigation

Trust litigation is becoming more frequent. This is due to a number of factors, such as changes in trust laws and an ageing segment of the population who created trusts. Another important factor is that the Uniform Trust Code, which has been mostly adopted in Missouri, permits a broad range of individuals to file lawsuits […]

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Probate, Will, Trust & Estate Representation & Litigation

We handle a wide variety of cases relating to probate, wills, trusts, and estates. These cases range from planning “simple” estates to complex will and trust litigation pertaining to multi-million dollar estates. We handle estate administrations, small estate affidavits, refusal of letters, guardianship, conservatorship, and discovery of assets claims. For wills, we represent personal representatives, […]

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Interpleader

In rare circumstances, you can be brought into court without being a traditional plaintiff or defendant. With an interpleader action, a third party may cause litigation to be initiated between two (2) or more claimants to resolve a dispute. There are two (2) basic substantive requirements for a party to initiate an interpleader: (1) that […]

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