Civil Litigation

Missouri manufacturers, distributors, sellers, and resellers of equipment have scored an important victory in the Missouri Court of Appeals. In Ormsby v. Central Mine Equipment Co, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, affirmed admission of evidence regarding the design, manufacture, and first sale of a commercial drilling rig as relevant to the defense of a strict liability claim arising from a subsequent sale when punitive damages are claimed.  Generally, a plaintiff can recover under a strict product liability claim if he can prove the product was inherently defective when sold and that the defect in the product caused the…
PURCHASING OR SELLING A HOME: HOW TITLE INSURANCE RELATES TO THE TRANSACTION If you bought or sold a home, you almost certainly worked with a title insurance company.  But you may not fully understand the reason for the company’s involvement, Read More…. The post PURCHASING OR SELLING A HOME: HOW TITLE INSURANCE RELATES TO THE TRANSACTION appeared first on Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C..…
The question of whether an arbitration agreement is enforceable is an oft-disputed issue prone to be volleyed between the courts and an arbitrator; such was the case in Caldwell v. UniFirst Corporation, No. ED108409, 2020 Mo. App. LEXIS 1328 (Ct. App. Oct. 27, 2020). This case involves a contract within a contract within a contract: a delegation provision contained in an arbitration agreement, which was contained in an employment contract. This not-uncommon scenario requires a court to look at the three contracts and analyze each independent of the others.  In Caldwell, a former at-will employee sued his former employer (UniFirst)…
While dogs bring us happiness and enrich our lives, they can also be sources of liability for their owners. The Second District’s recent decision in Dzierwa v. Ori examines the two liability theories recognized in Illinois for bodily injury caused by an animal, which all Illinois dog owners should be aware of. The Original Case In Dzierwa, plaintiff was bitten by Fiona, a 105-pound Cane Corso owned by defendants Joseph and Elizabeth Ori. The Oris were out of town at the time, and co-defendant Brad Hoebel was house-sitting and watching Fiona. Hoebel invited guests over to the Oris’ home, one…
A recent ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has provided more guidance in predicting how COVID-19 related losses and litigation will be handled. In Turek Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Alcona Chiropractic v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., et al,the Court ruled that State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. did not have to cover a chiropractic office’s losses alleged from government-ordered closures due to COVID-19. The Court held that the insured failed to allege physical loss and that the virus exclusion bars coverage. This class action lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage was denied because the…
Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice elected two new Members, effective January 1: Brandy Simpson (St. Louis), whose practice focuses primarily on medical malpractice defense. She also defends premises liability, personal injury, and products liability matters. Simpson earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton, and is licensed to practice in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and West Virginia. She serves as a Women’s Affinity Group liaison to Baker Sterchi’s Diversity Committee and is the 2020-2021 secretary of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis Women in the Legal Profession Section. Meghan Kane (Belleville), whose practice focuses on toxic torts, personal injury, product liability,…
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation initially ruled centralization was not appropriate for businesses seeking business interruption insurance coverage because of varying policy language. See our post here.  At that time, more than 450 cases were pending in Federal Courts—now there are over 700. While the JPML rejected total centralization, in the same ruling the Panel suggested that the creation of smaller “single-insurer” MDLs could be efficient to centralize those actions.  Cases argued against one insurer or insurance group were “more likely to involve insurance policies utilizing the same language, endorsements, and exclusions” that would make sharing common discovery…
The United States Supreme Court recently granted certiorari to TransUnion on a multimillion-dollar jury verdict arising out of a class action in the Ninth Circuit. In Ramirez v. TransUnion, a case filed in the Northern District of California,the jury assessed $60 million in damages against TransUnion for three FCRA violations: (1) willful failure to follow reasonable procedures to assure accuracy of terrorist alerts in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b); (2) willful failure to disclose to class members their entire credit reports by excluding the alerts from the reports in violation of § 1681g(a)(1); and (3) willful failure to provide…
With the holiday season now well underway, many families are asking themselves a similar question: How do we celebrate this important family holiday with the current safety recommendations related to COVID-19? The question is no doubt a difficult one, and it’s understandable that millions of Americans are grappling with it as they finalize their holiday plans. The question can grow even more complicated when a family has to factor in health concerns for a vulnerable family member who is living with cancer, such as mesothelioma, or who is otherwise immunocompromised. Many families who find themselves in this position are…
It happened again. Plaintiff named a physician buried in the medical record as a defendant, the one that provided a consult on the day of surgery, and the one that lives in The County. The County, the venue where Plaintiff wants to be. Not in the county where your client hospital resides. Not in the county where the surgery took place. That other county down the road. Now your client is stuck there—unless you can convince the court that The County is just too inconvenient and unfair to the defendant and the public. So, you are forced to get out…
Introduction On November 12, Governor Parson issued a written proclamation encouraging lawmakers to author new tort liability legislation insulating defendants from lawsuits arising out of the COVID-19 state of emergency that has existed since March. This effort is designed to allow these individuals and entities to continue to serve the public without threat of unnecessary and frivolous litigation. We have since learned that the Missouri legislature is not likely to address this issue until early 2021. Governor Parson seems to have reconsidered the timing for the agenda and directed the legislature to address this, not during the ongoing special session, but during…
Introduction On November 12, Governor Parson issued a written proclamation encouraging lawmakers to author new tort liability legislation insulating defendants from lawsuits arising out of the COVID-19 state of emergency that has existed since March. This effort is designed to allow these individuals and entities to continue to serve the public without threat of unnecessary and frivolous litigation. We have since learned that the Missouri legislature is not likely to address this issue until early 2021. Governor Parson seems to have reconsidered the timing for the agenda and directed the legislature to address this, not during the ongoing special session, but during the…
Ah, the holidays.  Mini Vans and SUVs recklessly driving in and out of traffic, blazing through red lights, running Indy 500 like race circuits from mall to mall, all in search of just a “few more gifts” for the holidays. The holidays can be stressful enough, but when those stressed out, last minute, texting maniacs get in their vehicles and needlessly endanger the lives of other people (pedestrians, their own passengers or passengers in other cars and trucks), their actions can result in serious property damage, personal injury and even death. If you or a loved one are injured in…
Following a brief departure by the Court of Appeals for the Eastern District, the Missouri Supreme Court recently clarified in Green v. Fotoohighiam that courts should not stray beyond the facts and evidence set forth in a movant’s statement of uncontroverted material facts when considering a motion for summary judgment. 606 S.W.3d 113 (Mo. banc 2020). Missouri Rule Governing Summary Judgements Summary judgments in Missouri are governed by Rule 74.04, which contains strict requirements for establishing the uncontroverted material facts which may support a summary judgment. In addition to filing a legal memorandum explaining why summary judgment should be granted,…
CONDOMINIUM LIENS: WHAT EVERY CONDOMINIUM OWNER SHOULD KNOW If you are a member of a condominium association, or thinking about purchasing a condominium, it is important that you understand condominium assessments and liens.  Condominium associations typically have monthly assessments, which Read More…. The post CONDOMINIUM LIENS: WHAT EVERY CONDOMINIUM OWNER SHOULD KNOW appeared first on Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C..…