Each week, The Missouri Bar provides links to all hand downs published online during the past seven days by the Supreme Court of Missouri and the Missouri Court of Appeals. The Missouri Bar has created headings and summaries for each case. Summaries are not part of the opinions of the Court. They have been prepared for the convenience of the reader and should not be quoted or cited.
Case summaries for Feb. 14 - Feb. 20
No Appeal from Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice
Appeal is available for a judgment, and no judgment results from a voluntary dismissal. Voluntary dismissal instantly divests circuit court of authority, including authority to set aside voluntary dismissal.
Bradley Bearden vs. Missouri Valley College, et al.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD82425
Summary Judgment on Liability to Third Party
An accountant prepared a report allegedly below the standard of care. In a claim for malpractice against the defendant accountant, if defendant accountant knew that plaintiff third party would rely on the accountant’s report, plaintiff third party need not show the element of accountant-client privity. But defendant accountant negated the element of reliance on the report with facts established beyond genuine dispute, so circuit court did not err in granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
Christopher A. Jackson Revocable Inter Vivos Trust of 19 July 1995, Christopher A. Jackson Trustee and Portland 41, Limited Partnership f/k/a Ovis Sales, Limited Partnership, Plaintiff/Appellant, vs. Abeles & Hoffman, P.C., Defendant/Respondent.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED108172
Reasonable Grounds Shown
On judicial review of an administrative revocation, the elements that the State must show include reasonable grounds to believe that appellant was intoxicated while driving. Reasonable grounds means probable cause, which “a combination of observations” may show. Court of Appeals defers to circuit court’s credibility determinations on evidence relating indicia of intoxication, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
Stephen C. Smith vs. Director of Revenue
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD82995
Reasonable Grounds Not Shown on Motion to Dismiss
On criminal charges of driving while intoxicated, statute governing a motion to dismiss puts the burden of proof on the State. The State did not persuade the circuit court that intoxication was the reason that a driver performed poorly on field tests. The standard on judicial review of dismissal and the standard on judicial review of summary judgment are opposites.
State of Missouri vs. Leslie Christy
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD82831
Medical Lien Statute is the Exclusive Remedy
As a narrow exception to common law ban on selling a cause of action for personal injury, statutes provide a medical lien for a health care provider against a patient’s settlement proceeds; and when liens exceed half of the proceeds, lienholders take proportionally. Appellant used a lien document from the Uniform Commercial Code. The medical lien is an exclusive remedy, so circuit court did not err in rejecting appellant’s claim, even though the lien document purported to waive the medical lien statute. While no motion for new trial or motion to amend judgment is necessary to preserve error from a bench trial, appellant must at least raise the issue in circuit court, or waive the error.
ROSE FORD, Respondent vs. SKAGGS CHIROPRACTIC, LLC, Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36080
Acceptance of Mesothelioma Liability Not Deemed for Past Employer
Statutes provide that employers can immunize themselves from civil liability to workers who contract mesothelioma by choosing to accept liability for an enhanced benefit, and that employers make that choice by insuring against liability for the enhanced benefit specifically. A past employer cannot make that choice when it no longer exists. A policy that covered the employer’s “entire liability for occupational disease [,]” but did not specify coverage for the enhanced mesothelioma benefit, did not show acceptance of statutory liability.
Vincent Hegger (Deceased), et al., Appellants, vs. Valley Farm Dairy Company, et al., Respondents.
Missouri Supreme Court - SC97993
Appellate Court Examines Evidence Supporting Party with No Burden of Proof
Neither ALJ nor Labor and Industrial Relations Commission need draw an adverse inference from a party’s decision not to call someone as a witness. The Commission’s determinations of credibility among medical experts are unreviewable. Decision’s plain language shows that it addressed appellant’s theory. A ruling for a party who has no burden of proof gets no review on the record for supporting evidence, if that ruling is in a judgment, but it does if it is in a Commission decision. When appellant charges that no substantial and competent evidence supports the Commission’s decision, appellant must follow the analysis prescribed by the courts.
KEVIN PARVIN, Appellant vs. CAMCORP ENVIRONMENTAL, LLC, MISSOURI EMPLOYERS MUTUAL INS. CO. and TREASURER OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI AS CUSTODIAN OF THE SECOND INJURY FUND, Respondents
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36281