Legal Articles

Adequate Remedy at Law, Declaratory Judgments

Declaratory relief is not a “general panacea for all real and imaginary ills.” Missouri Soybean v. Missouri Clean Water, 102 S.W.3d 10, 25 (Mo. 2003). “It is not available to adjudicate hypothetical or speculative situations that may never come to pass.” Id. There are four elements: (1) a justiciable controversy that presents a real, substantial,…

Reasonable Reliance: Fraud and Intentional Misrepresentation

Fraud has nine (9) elements. A plaintiff’s failure to establish any of these elements is fatal to the claim. Heberer v. Shell Oil Co., 744 S.W.2d 441, 443 (Mo. 1988). Reliance is one of the nine elements of fraud, and thus a plaintiff cannot prevail on a fraud claim unless he or she proves that…

Personal Guaranty, Separate Consideration

A personal guaranty is a type of document in which a guarantor agrees to become secondarily liable for the obligation of a principal debtor if the principal debtor does not perform its obligations. Jamieson-Chippewa Inv. Co., Inc. v. McClintock, 996 S.W.2d 84, 87 (Mo. Ct. App. 1999). The liability of a guarantor is strictly construed…

Offensive Collateral Estoppel

Collateral estoppel prevents the relitigation of any issues necessarily and unambiguously determined in a prior litigation from being relitigated again in a subsequent litigation. It can be used either defensively or offensively. When a defendant attempts to use collateral estoppel, he or she is saying that the plaintiff is precluded from arguing some claim because…

Contract Liability and Tort Liability

When there is a contract in play, often times there is confusion when a plaintiff is making a claim whether the claim is for breach of contract or for tort liability. Sometimes a plaintiff will assert both contract liability and tort liability (e.g., fraud, negligence) for failure to perform contract provisions. This is usually impermissible. …

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