Proving Intent

It is difficult to prove intent, knowledge, and any other condition of mind. The reason is that litigants rarely admit to things. Likewise, direct evidence is often rare. In the context of a plaintiff pleading a lawsuit, “intent…and any other condition of mind may be averred generally.” Clark v. Olson, 726 S.W.2d 718, 719 (Mo. 1987).

Things are similarly relaxed in an evidentiary context. “[A]n admission of specific intent is not the only way to show intent to cause harm; it can be inferred from facts and circumstances surrounding an act.” Truck Ins. Exchange v. Pickering, 642 S.W.2d 113, 116 (Mo. App. W.D. 1982). In other words, an individual’s state of mind is determined by the surrounding “acts and circumstances” and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Truck Ins. Exchange v. Prairie Framing, LLC, 162 S.W.2d 64, 94-95 (Mo. Ct. App. 2005).

As such, “intent is a fact question.” Crestwood Shops, LLC v. Hilkene, 197 S.W.3d 641, 655 (Mo. Ct. App. 2006). It is generally up to the judge or jury deciding the case to decide whether someone acted with a certain intent.

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