Courts Bulletin - 12-November

The latest court decisions are summarized each month in the Courts Bulletin. This publication keeps Missouri Bar members current with rulings in selected areas of the law. Selected federal court opinion summaries, new or amended rules of court and other matters of interest to practitioners are also included from time to time. A panel of volunteer lawyers, all authorities in their respective subject areas, prepare the case summaries.

In This Issue  

Administrative Hearing Commission
Registered nurse not entitled to Missouri license because she moved to Arizona, and under Nurse Licensure Compact, could only be licensed in her home state. Decker v. State Board of Nursing, No. 11-0969 BN (Mo. A.H.C., November 13, 2012), Winn, C.
Full Summary and Other Cases  

 
Bankruptcy Law
Application of the “unmarried dependent children” portion of the head of household exemption under § 513.440, RSMo, requires said children to be related to the head of family. Turpen v. Rouse, Case 12-6039 (B.A.P. 8th Circuit November 2, 2012), Kressel, Saladino, and Nail, Js.
Full Summary and Other Cases  

 
Civil Practice and Procedure
Trial court exceeded the scope of the appellate court’s mandate when it allowed defendant to present evidence that a non-party would have to pay punitive damages award and used the non-party’s historical corporate citizenship to mitigate the award. Lincoln Smith, et al. v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., No. 71918 (Mo. App. W.D., October 2, 2012), Ellis, J.
Full Summary and Other Cases  

 
Construction Law
To answer the question of whether a subcontractor is an independent contractor, the relationships must be analyzed by the application of well-known employment law principles. Further, the mere breach of a contract does not provide a basis for tort liability. If an act or omission constitutes a tort, then liability exits in tort law regardless of the existence of a contract. Skabu, et al. v. Regency Contraction Co., Inc., No. 97934 (Mo. App. E.D., October 2, 2012), Cunningham, J.
Full Summary and Other Cases  

 
Criminal Law
Functionality of a weapon is not an element of the offense of unlawful use of a weapon. Rather, non-functionality is a special negative defense where the defendant is transporting the weapon in a continuous journey peaceably through the state. State v. Wright, No. 92257 (Mo. banc, October 16, 2012), Fischer, J.
Full Summary and Other Cases

 
Juvenile Law
Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) affirmed where Father sexually abused daughter, never admitted guilt in counseling, was never approved by the therapist for visitation, and where the children were in care for several years and there was little emotional bond. Denial of Father’s request for continuance of the TPR trial was neither an abuse of discretion nor a violation of Father’s procedural or substantive due process rights. In Interest of D.L.W. and A.M.J.W., No. 98307 (Mo. App. E.D., October 30, 2012), Richter, J.
Full Summary and Other Cases  

 
Labor Law
Hoock’s using her employer-provided computer and email account to send insulting, foul, and obnoxious emails constituted misconduct connected with work. Brittany Hoock v. Missouri Department of Revenue and Division of Employment Security, No. 97683 (Mo. App. E.D., September 4, 2012), Ahrens, J.
Full Summary and Other Cases  

 
Local Government
County must comply with city’s building codes in construction of county administration building. Engelage v. City of Warrenton, No. 97965 (Mo. App. E.D., September 18, 2012), L. Mooney, P.J.
Full Summary and Other Cases  

 
Medical Malpractice
Trial court reversed (abuse of discretion) for refusal to allow plaintiff to re-open case to present favorable deposition testimony of defense expert after “gentleman’s agreement” that the expert would appear live in the defense case. Agreement “breached” by change of trial strategy by defense counsel. Lafevers v. Clothiaux, et al, No. 31575 (Mo. App. S.D., October 30, 2012), Burrel, J.
Full Summary and Other Cases  

 
Public Service Commission
No ratemaking, no regulation, of non-economic liabilities. Public Service Commission of The State of Missouri v. Missouri Gas Energy, A Division of Southern Union Company; Office of Public Counsel, No. 74732 (Mo. App. W.D., October 23, 2012), Welsh, C.J.
Full Summary and Other Cases  

 
Tort Law
In assessing tort liability, “subcontractor” is not synonymous with “independent contractor.” Sakabu v. Regency Construction Co., Inc., No. 97934 (Mo. App. E.D., October 2, 2012), Clayton, J.
Full Summary and Other Cases