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…

Trust Language: “Necessary or Advisable” Distributions

The language of a trust is extremely important. And when a will, trust, and other estate documents form part of the same plan, they are interpreted together. Indeed, “[w]hen a trust and will form parts of the same plan, they must be construed together.” Shriners Hospital for Children v. Schaper, 215 S.W.3d 185, 189-90 (Mo….

Aggrieved Party, Right to Appeal

Any “aggrieved” party to a final judgment may appeal. Section 512.020, RSMo. To be “aggrieved,” certain requirements must be present. The judgment must “operate prejudicially and directly on the party’s personal or property rights or interests, and such effect must be immediate, not merely a possible remote consequence.” Bi-State Development Agency of Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan Dist….

LLCs: Personal Use of LLC Property

Limited Liability Companies are perhaps the dominant business entity. They are easy to form and easy to manage. Often times they are manager-managed, which means that managers supervise and control the operations of the company. Managers of a LLC generally owe fiduciary duties to the LLC’s owners/members, subject to the terms of the LLC’s operating…

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…

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