| On March 11, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed an Eastern District of Missouri judgment, finding that the Plaintiff failed to establish that a product was inherently defective or dangerous, where he had failed to provide evidence of when a product entered the stream of commerce.
| In an update to a prior post, Senate Bill 591 (which seeks to impose stricter standards for the application of punitive damages) cleared The Missouri House on May 12, 2020 in a 98-51 vote. The Bill, now on its way to Governor Parson for his signature, will likely go into effect on August 28, 2020. Governor Parson is expected to sign the measure without veto.
| Missouri Supreme Court held the Missouri Human Rights Act is not a remedy for out-of-state employees aggrieved by discriminatory practices of Missouri-headquartered companies.
| The data is out on Kansas City area jury verdicts for calendar year 2019, and it contains mostly good news for defendants. While the total number of jury verdicts was up slightly from 2018, the percentage of those verdicts in plaintiffs' favor was down, with nearly 60% of claims that went to a jury ending in a defense verdict. 2019 also saw a drop of almost 30% in the number of verdicts over $1 million. Although the data shows a rise in the average verdict amount, that increase is entirely attributable to a single mega verdict of more than $100 million; controlling for that outlier, the size of the average award was also down significantly.
| As a flood of lawsuits continue to be filed under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, many businesses are now aware of the Act and the potential for significant liability under it. However, is your business aware of multiple privacy laws recently proposed by the Illinois General Assembly, some of which create private rights of action for violations? In honor of Data Privacy Day, we examine several privacy bills that, if enacted, could have a significant impact on companies that transact business in Illinois.
| Though seemingly obvious, the Eighth Circuit affirmed arbitration agreements are not immune to contract law basics when it denied an employer's motion to compel arbitration for lack of acceptance.
| SECOND UPDATE: Missouri Governor Mike Parson signs Senate Bill 7, which amends venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.
| A seismic shift in Kansas personal injury litigation may be on the horizon, as the Kansas Supreme Court rules that the state's cap on noneconomic damages violates the constitutional right to a jury trial.
| UPDATE: House Passes Senate Bill 7, in which the Missouri legislature seeks to amend venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.
| The Supreme Court has issued another ruling limiting class-action claims, in favor of individual arbitration, this time finding that contractual ambiguity is no substitute for a clear expression of consent to class-wide arbitration.
| The Illinois Appellate Court has held employees' claims under Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act do not constitute "wage or hour violations" subject to mandatory arbitration under an employment agreement.
| In Senate Bill 7, the Missouri legislature seeks to amend venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.
| Illinois Supreme Court has held that no damages beyond the statutory violation itself are required to state a claim for the improper collection, retention, or dissemination of biometric identifiers under Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act.
| Applying Missouri Law, the Eighth Circuit confirms that when a company guarantees customer satisfaction, only to leave the customer unsatisfied, it risks not only its business reputation, but also its legal right to collect payment.
| The Eighth Circuit affirms summary judgment in an employer's favor in a disability discrimination case, where the employee's excessive absenteeism was attributed to a disability and other family medical issues.
| Defense attorneys beware. The 2018-2019 American Tort Reform Foundation's (ATRF) Judicial Hellholes Report is out, and the City of St. Louis landed fourth on this list because of its massive verdicts, forum shopping, and legislative failures.
| In a blow to the enforceability of arbitration clauses found in many existing consumer contracts, the Missouri Supreme Court declines to appoint a substitute arbitration provider after the agreed-upon arbitration forum's "sudden and unforeseen departure" from the scene.
| Governor Parson has signed Senate Bill 608, which enacts three new sections relating to civil liability due to criminal conduct. The Bill affords Missouri business owners greater protection against liability for criminal conduct that occurs on their property.
| Despite an uptick in advocacy, support, and inclusion of the LGTBQ community over the past several decades, as of today, discrimination based on sexual orientation remains an invalid claim under the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). However, in a recent decision by the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals...
| The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District upholds denial of an employer's motion to compel arbitration ruling that at-will employment is insufficient consideration to support an arbitration agreement and denying employer's request to find that, in accordance with federal policy, at-will employment should be sufficient consideration for an arbitration agreement.
| The United States Supreme Court ruled on May 22, 2017, that the Hague Convention, on the service of judicial documents abroad, permits service by mail if the receiving country has not objected to service by mail and service by mail is authorized under otherwise-applicable law.
| Earlier this week, Governor Eric Greitens signed Missouri HB 153 into law. HB 153, which supplants Missouri's existing expert witness standard with that set forth in Federal Rules of Evidence 702, 703, 704 and 705, effectively submits expert testimony in most civil and criminal case to the analysis set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).
| Within a two-week period, two federal judges issued strongly worded orders denouncing the common practice of asserting boilerplate objections to written discovery.
| The Missouri Court of Appeals rules that a worker may owe an independent duty of care to a co-worker, which is separate and distinct from her employer's non-delegable duties.
| A Missouri plaintiff did not irrevocably waive the protections of the work product doctrine simply by designating an expert witness and then withdrawing the designation without disclosing the expert’s analysis or conclusions.
| In McNearney v. LTF Club Operations Company, Inc., the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District recently affirmed a trial court ruling granting summary judgment in favor of the Defendant fitness club from claims by the Plaintiff that it was negligent and reckless in allowing her to become injured while participating in a boot camp exercise class.
| On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Green v. Brennan in order to resolve a split among the Circuits on whether, in an action for constructive discharge, the 45-day limitation period for the employee to initiate contact with the EEOC begins to run after the employer's last discriminatory act, or at the time of the employee's resignation.
| While a Kansas court may grant relief from a final judgment based on excusable neglect, it is an abuse of discretion to grant that relief when the party seeking that relief has failed either to explain what facts constituted excusable neglect or to provide any evidence to support that claim.
| It has long been thegeneral rule in Missouri that for a party to contractually release itself from or limit liability for its own future negligence, the language in the contract must be clear, unequivocal, conspicuous and must explicitly include the word "negligence" or "fault." However, when the contract is negotiated at arm's length between "sophisticated commercial entities", a party can release itself from or limit liability with less precise language.
| The Eighth Circuit recently analyzed the application of the “outside sales” and “administrative” exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act in the context of promotional workers. Also, the Court was asked to decide, for the first time, what constitutes a valid waiver of an employee’s rights under the FLSA.
| An agent may recover attorney's fees when enforcing a principal's contract if: the agent is granted the express authority to enforce the contract in the contract itself, the contract contains an attorney's fees provision, and the agent is the prevailing party.
| A defendant removing a case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act need not provide evidence proving the jurisdictional amount in controversy in the notice of removal. A "short and plain statement of the grounds for removal" is sufficient.
| Individuals and businesses relying upon contractors to provide labor services may be exposing themselves to liability if these contractors fail to pay their employees in accordance with the Missouri Minimum Wage Law.
| K.S.A. 60-19a02 has been amended, increasing Kansas's long-standing cap on non-economic damages (pain and suffering) recoverable in personal injury. K.S.A. 60-456(b) has also been amended to mirror the requirements for the admissibility of expert testimony set forth in Fed. R. Evid. 702.
| Experts are not required to rule out all possible causes when performing the differential etiology analysis if the experts have properly ruled in the alleged cause.
| A Kansas plaintiff may amend their pleadings to assert punitive damages up until the day of the pretrial conference.
| A man who sued his former employer, alleging he was discharged in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim, appealed on the basis that the trial court used a jury instruction with the wrong standard. In a 5-2 decision written by Judge George W. Draper III, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected the 'exclusive causation' standard and replaced it with the "contributing factor" standard. On remand and in future cases, the jury must determine whether the plaintiff's filing of a workers' compensation claim was a "contributing factor" to his or her discharge.
| Based on its adoption of a statutory scheme of comparative negligence, Kansas has abolished common law assumption of the risk as a bar to recovery. Simmons v. Porter, 298 Kan. 299, 312 P3d 345, 355 (Kan. 2013).
| The plaintiff has the burden of proving standing, which is a jurisdictional issue that can be raised at any time.
| In Kansas, the parties bind themselves to an enforceable settlement, even though the parties contemplate subsequent execution of a formal instrument. However, when the parties specifically condition a contract on it being reduced to writing and signed, there is no enforceable contract until such act is accomplished.
| On any given week, most of us are asked to sign at least one or two releases of liability for various sporting and recreational events. The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District recently held those releases may be effective as to entities who were not releasees at the time the releasor signed the document.