Legal Articles

Stare Decisis, Precedent

Stare decisis — “to stand by things decided” — is a legal rule. The rule is that previous cases decided are binding or persuasive on courts deciding similar subsequent cases. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the rule is of “fundamental importance,” promoting “stability, predictability, and respect for judicial authority.” Hilton v. South Carolina Public…

Explicit and Implicit Credibility

When arguing cases on appeal, it is virtually impossible to overturn a credibility determination made in the lower court. Indeed, appellate courts “defer to the trial court’s credibility determinations.” Federal Nat. Mortg. Ass’n v. Wilson, 409 S.W.3d 490, 494 (Mo. Ct. App. 2013). The reason for this deference is that lower courts in a better position…

Sub Silentio Opinions, Appeals

“Sub silentio” means “without notice being taken or without making a particular point of the matter in question.” Badahman v. Catering St. Louis, 395 S.W.3d 29, 49 fn 10 (Mo. 2013). This term is used to refer to the practice of appellate courts overturning cases without explicitly stating so. Although this is possible, it is…

Not Supported by Substantial Evidence, Against the Weight of the Evidence

When appealing a trial decided by a judge (as opposed to a jury), an appeals court will usually only reverse the trial judge’s judgement if there is no substantial evidence to support it, it is against the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the law. Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30,…

Appeals and Estoppel

Estoppel is a legal theory which generally prevent litigants from taking inconsistent positions in Court. Common forms of estoppel include equitable estoppel and promissory estoppel. However, estoppel can also be used to preclude a party’s ability to appeal a judgment. Steven Family Trust v. Huthsing, 81 S.W.2d 664, 667 (Mo. Ct. App. 2002). More specifically,…

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