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Missouri insurers can breathe a sigh of relief as the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, finds an insured’s fraudulent conduct precludes indemnity obligations under an “intentional acts” exclusion. The Court of Appeals found the claimant could not prove coverage applied to an underlying punitive judgment resulting from fraudulent sales tactics.

Estate of Max Overbey v. Universal is the latest chapter in the seemingly endless saga of litigation surrounding the Chad Franklin auto dealerships, and a deceptive marketing program that violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. Here, the Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s equitable garnishment judgment against Universal
Continue Reading Missouri Court of Appeals Finds Conduct Resulting in Punitive Damages Triggers Policy Exclusion for Intentional Acts

An effective tool in attempting to limit recovery and the scope of discovery in Illinois may be gone. In McQueen v. Green, a tractor-trailer accident case involving personal injuries, the Illinois Supreme Court overruled Illinois’ application of Missouri’s “McHaffie Rule”  (McHaffie v Bunch, 891 S.W.2d 822 (Mo. banc 1995)) which bars theories of “direct” negligence against a principal if the principal admits it is vicariously liable for the acts or omissions of its agent.  The rationale of the Missouri Supreme Court in McHaffie is that once vicarious liability is admitted, additional liability theories are extraneous.   The practical effect of
Continue Reading Admitting agency no longer bars direct negligence theories in Illinois.

At five years, Missouri currently has one of the longest personal injury statute of limitations of any state. In fact, only two states, Maine and North Dakota have longer statute of limitations periods (6 years), while forty-seven states currently have a shorter period. The Missouri General Assembly, through House Bill 2206 and Senate Bill 631, is currently debating reducing the statute of limitations period for personal injury claims from five years to two years. 
Five years is a long time – long enough for even the most vivid of memories to fade. This presents practical obstacles to personal injury litigation
Continue Reading Missouri Debates Shortening its Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Driving on I-70 heading west from East St. Louis, Illinois, one crosses the Mississippi River into Missouri, and about 250 miles later, crosses the Kansas River into Kansas City, Kansas. Over the course of about four hours, a driver employed by a trucking company will be working in not only three different states, but three different federal court of appeals circuits. Following a recent Supreme Court decision not to review a ruling from the Eighth Circuit, that driver’s employer potentially remains subject to three different standards for responding to sexual harassment.

The case is Sellars v. CRST Expedited, Inc.,
Continue Reading Supreme Court Declines to Provide Clarity on Responding to Sexual Harassment in Trucking Industry

Missouri Lawyers Media has selected the Hon. Michael David (Ret.) to receive its 2022 ICON Award.
Judge David is among 31 distinguished men and women aged 60 and older to be recognized with the ICON Award for an exemplary legal career, longstanding commitment to the Missouri legal community, and success beyond the field of law. The 2022 honorees include founding partners, firm leaders, current and retired judges, and former public officials.
A former Circuit Judge of the 22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri and former member of the Missouri House of Representatives, Judge David’s legal career spans 40 years. His recent
Continue Reading Hon. Michael David (Ret.) Selected to Receive Missouri Lawyers Media ICON Award

Several months ago, when the Missouri Supreme Court agreed to review the case of All Star Awards v. HALO Branded Solutions, we wrote that “we believe that in accepting this case…the Supreme Court, at minimum, is thinking that the case bears some resemblance to Dodson.” And that is indeed what was troubling the Court.
In Dodson v. Ferrara, the Supreme Court held that R.S. Mo. 510.265’s damages cap on noneconomic and punitive damages applied to the plaintiff’s wrongful death claim, because at the time the Missouri Constitution was enacted in 1820, there was no such thing as
Continue Reading No Surprise: the Missouri Supreme Court Upholds the Constitutionality of the Statutory Punitive Damages Cap, as Applied to Claims for Breach of the Duty of Loyalty and Tortious Interference

In the ongoing debate regarding insurance coverage issues arising from the COVID-19 era, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently determined that, under Missouri law, a challenge by an insured regarding premium adjustments is really a challenge to insurance rates, necessitating the claim to be made to the director of the Missouri Department of Insurance rather than through the courts.
In Alissa’s Flowers, Inc. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 3110 (February 3, 2022), Plaintiff brought suit against its insurer, State Farm, alleging that the flower shop had overpaid its premiums
Continue Reading Is a challenge to insurance premiums really a rate challenge in Missouri? Not even flowers will get an insured around the administrative review process.

The Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri recently held that the reasonableness of a disability accommodation under the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) remains a fact-intensive, case-by-case inquiry, even when it comes to reassigning job duties to other employees. Importantly, the Court cautioned that employers and practitioners should exercise great caution when attempting to apply federal ADA reasonable accommodation precedents to MHRA claims.

Loerch v. City of Union Missouri involved a custodian who worked as the sole custodian at City Hall until 2015. The written job description stated that the job involved indoor and outdoor duties, but
Continue Reading In MHRA Disability Discrimination Claims, "Reasonable Accommodation" Remains a Fact-Intensive Inquiry

Since its enactment, numerous questions have arisen involving the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), including which statute of limitations applies to the Act, whether employees are able to pursue BIPA lawsuits against their employers, the amount of damages available to plaintiffs in BIPA lawsuits, and when BIPA causes of action accrue, among others. As previously discussed here and here, Illinois courts are poised to address several of these issues in 2022. For example, in February, the Illinois Supreme Court resolved the issue of whether the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act precludes employees from filing BIPA lawsuits against their employers.  
Continue Reading Illinois Appellate Court Rules that BIPA Applies to Healthcare Employee Biometric Information

The Illinois Supreme Court recently held that the Workers’ Compensation Act’s exclusive remedy provision does not extend immunity to a general contractor who paid workers’ compensation insurance premiums for its subcontractor (a wholly-owned subsidiary) and the subcontractor’s employees. Only an employee’s “immediate employer” is entitled to immunity under the Act’s exclusive remedy provision. The Court held that the general contractor was not the “immediate employer” of the subcontractor’s employees within the meaning of the Act, and was therefore not entitled to immunity from suit.
Factual Background
This case involved a fairly familiar arrangement for construction projects. The project owner, RAR2-222
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Workers' Compensation Act is Exclusive Remedy Only Against "Immediate Employers"

The Eighth Circuit recently affirmed an Arkansas District Court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s first-party bad faith claim against her insurance company after the insurer prevailed in its motion for summary judgment.
Tilghman v. Allstate Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., __ F.4th __, 2022 WL 18977 (8th Cir. 2022), arose out of an Arkansas motor vehicle accident. Plaintiff brought a state court action against Defendant Lott claiming over $30,000 in past medical expenses, at least $46,000 in future medical expenses, and a loss of future earnings of between $440,000 and $1,000,000. After failing to recover from the Defendant, Plaintiff filed an uninsured motorist claim
Continue Reading Jury's Award Proves Fatal to Plaintiff's Bad Faith Claim

In Payne v. Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, affirmed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a rehabilitation hospital on statute of limitations grounds where the plaintiff filed her personal injury claim approximately two and one-half years after the date of injury. No. ED109560, 2022 Mo. App. LEXIS 37 (Ct. App. Jan. 25, 2022). Payne was receiving intensive inpatient stroke rehabilitation at the defendant’s facility and confined to a wheelchair. One day, while she was unattended, she fell out of bed and sustained injury. Payne argued that her claim
Continue Reading Court Applies Two-Year Statute of Limitations for Health Care Providers to Bar Plaintiff's Claim Despite Attempt to Label It as One for Ordinary Negligence

As previously discussed here, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) looms large over the Illinois legal landscape in 2022. Specifically, the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Appellate Court are set to resolve important questions regarding when claims arise under BIPA, which statute of limitations governs certain types of BIPA claims, and whether the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act prohibits employees from filing suit against their employers under BIPA.

On February 3, 2022, the Illinois Supreme Court resolved the workers’ compensation question. In the case McDonald v. Symphony Bronzeville Park, LLC, 2022 IL 126511, the court affirmed a
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Closes the Door on Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity Defense in BIPA Cases and Opens the Floodgates for Employee Lawsuits

The Judicial Circuits Districting Act of 2022 (“The Act”) is at issue in the recent temporary restraining order (“TRO”) granted by Sangamon County Judge Ryan Cadigan on January 24, 2022. The Act was signed by Illinois Governor, J.B. Pritzker, on January 7, 2022. The last census illustrated that redistricting was needed and has been in the works for quite some time. It will increase the number of subcircuits in Cook County from 15 to 20 and requires that their boundaries be redrawn based on Census data every 10 years. The Act itself spans 388 pages and impacts all Judicial Circuits
Continue Reading TRO Puts Illinois Judicial Circuit Redistricting to a Halt

Tom Kammerer joins Baker Sterchi as an associate attorney in the firm’s St. Louis office, where his practice covers a variety of civil litigation, including first- and third-party insurance defense, premises liability, property damage, personal injury, transportation, and subrogation matters.
Kammerer earned his law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Truman State University. He has represented clients in state and federal courts throughout Missouri.
Continue Reading Baker Sterchi Welcomes Tom Kammerer in St. Louis