Legal Articles


A mistrial is where a judge effectively cancels a trial because of an extremely prejudicial error that occurs during a trial. “A mistrial is a drastic remedy, and the decision to grant one is largely within the discretion of the trial court.” Callahan v. Cardinal Glennon Hosp., 863 S.W.2d 852, 867 (Mo. 1993); see Pierce v. Platte-Clay…

Finality re: Collateral Estoppel, Res Judicata

Collateral estoppel is  a “court-made doctrine,” precluding re-litigation of an issue previously decided. Sexton v. Jenkins & Associates, Inc., 152 S.W.3d 270, 273 (Mo. 2004). To be “final” for collateral estoppel purposes, a judgment need only be “sufficiently firm to be accorded conclusive effect.” Ogle v. Guardsman Ins. Co., 701 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App….

Harmless Error

To prevail as the appealing party on an appeal, you must demonstrate that there is reversible error. Very generally, “reversible error” is an error which affects the outcome of a case and prejudices the losing party. State v. Buamruk, 280 S.W.3d 600, 614 (Mo. 2009). This can be a tall hill to climb. For instance, if an appellant…


Ripeness and standing are related concepts. Both must be present for a plaintiff to bring a lawsuit. To have “standing,” the party seeking relief must have a “legally cognizable interest” and a “threatened or real injury.” Manzara v. State, 343 S.W.3d 656, 659 (Mo. 2011). Assuming standing exists, a court will not reach the merits…

Future Lost Profits

The purpose of damages (i.e., a money award from a judge/jury) is to make a plaintiff whole. With a contract case, for instance, the goal is to “restore a plaintiff to the position he would have been in had the contract not been breached.” Lipton Rlty v. St. Louis Housing Authority, 705 S.W.2d 565, 569 (Mo….

Proving Damages in Defamation

Defamation is a very difficult, amorphous claim. Most potential defamation claims are not pursued because it can be very difficult to prove damages. A “plaintiff must prove actual damages in all defamation cases.”  Nazeri v. Mo. Valley Coll., 860 S.W.2d 303, 313 (Mo. 1993) . Stated differently, “[p]roof of actual reputational harm is an absolute…

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