Articles Posted in Missouri Supreme Court

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The survivors of Barbara Smith appealed a punitive damage award of $1.5 million against the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation. The Smiths contended that certain evidence admitted by the trial court was outside the court of appeals' prior mandate, and erred in overruling their motion for a new trial on the grounds of juror nondisclosure. The company cross-appealed, contending that the Smiths failed to make a submissible case for punitive damages. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded the appellate court's mandate did not address any issues concerning what evidence could be presented at the retrial of punitive damages, and that the trial court did not err in overruling the Smiths' motion for a new trial or the Company's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Accordingly, the Court affirmed. View "Smith vs. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation" on Justia Law

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Allegations of sexual abuse were made against Allen Austin (Decedent) in 2006. Decedent died in 2009. A personal representative of Decedent's estate failed to provide actual notice of the probate proceeding to the children whom Decedent was alleged to have sexually abused. Because of the failure to notify the children, their claims against the estate were filed beyond the statutory six-month window for creditors to file claims against the estate. The trial court dismissed the claims as tardy as the children were not "known or reasonably ascertainable creditors." The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the children were known or reasonably ascertainable creditors of the estate, and therefore, their claims were more than merely conjectural; and (2) because due process requires that the personal representative of an estate provide actual notice of the probate proceeding to all reasonably ascertainable creditors of the estate who may have more than a merely conjectural claim against the estate, the children's claims should not have been dismissed. View "Estate of Austin v. Snead" on Justia Law

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This case concerned the tax sale of certain property to KSSO, LLC. The circuit court entered partial summary judgment awarding quiet title to the property to Catherine Ndegwa as trustee of the Mrema family revocable trust. KSSO, LLC asserted that the circuit court improperly entered summary judgment in favor of Ndegwa and the trust because there was a sufficient question of material fact as to whether KSSO provided Ndegwa with timely and sufficient notice of Plaintiffs' right to redeem the property. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the circuit court's order did not resolve a single, distinct judicial unit, and therefore, was neither a final nor appealable judgment in this case. View "Ndegwa v. KSSO, LLC" on Justia Law