Boomerang Transportation brought suit against Miracle Recreation Equipment alleging breach of a shipper-carrier contract. Under the contract Boomerang agreed to transport materials for Miracle in exchange for a per-mile payment, and a portion of the payment was subject to rebate based on Boomerang’s ability to obtain customers for “back haul.” Miracle counter-claimed alleging that Boomerang owed it a rebate. The trial court granted Miracle’s motion for summary judgment but didn’t take action on Miracle’s counterclaim. The Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District dismissed Boomerang’s appeal on the grounds that the court did not have jurisdiction because the lower court’s judgment was not a final judgment.
The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District affirmed the lower court’s ruling that the word resident in a homeowner’s policy was unambiguous and included the unborn child of a woman who was a resident under the policy.
Reversing the trial court, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District held that the insurer under an occurrence-based liability policy had a duty to defend and might have a duty to cover the successor-in-interest to the original named insured.
In a case that I discuss in Contracts Quiz: Is This Email Settlement Binding?, The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District affirmed the lower court’s ruling that an email exchange created a binding settlement agreement.
The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District affirmed the trial judgment specifically enforcing a mediation settlement agreement. The appeals court held, among other things, that a handwritten settlement agreement did not fail for indefiniteness and that the parties had not abandoned the agreement. The court stated, “Abandonment of an agreement may be accomplished by express mutual consent or implied consent through the actions of the parties. Actions indicative of implied consent must be positive, unequivocal and inconsistent with an intent to be further bound by the contract.”
The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District upheld a trial court’s judgment on the pleadings of an action to determine the validity of an amendment to a trust. The amendment had allegedly been found after a previous action involving the trust had been resolved via a consent judgment. The trial court found that the petitioner was barred from maintaining the suit based on the doctrine of judicial estoppel because the consent judgment contained a warranty that there were no amendments to the trust.
Quoting a 2007 decision of the court, the appeals court summarized the doctrine of judicial estoppel:
Judicial estoppel applies to prevent litigants from taking a position in one judicial proceeding, thereby obtaining benefits from that position in that instance and later, in a second proceeding, taking a contrary position in order to obtain benefits from such a contrary position at that time. While judicial estoppel cannot be reduced to a precise formula, the United States Supreme Court has indicated that whether judicial estoppel applies requires the consideration of three factors: First, a party’s later position must be clearly inconsistent with its earlier position. Second, courts regularly inquire whether the party has succeeded in persuading a court to accept that party’s earlier position. . . . A third consideration is whether the party seeking to assert an inconsistent position would derive an unfair advantage or impose an unfair detriment on the opposing party if not estopped.
However, judicial estoppel does not apply when a party’s prior position was taken “because of a good-faith mistake rather than as part of a scheme to mislead and manipulate the court.” The appellate court held that, because the petitioner’s pleadings alleged that the consent judgment was based on a mistake, it was inappropriate for the trial court to enter judgment on the pleadings based on judicial estoppel. Nonetheless, the appellate court upheld the judgment because the amendment was not valid, as it had not been delivered in the manner required by the trust.
In this case, which I discussed in The Missouri Supreme Court Meets Concepcion: Brewer v. Missouri Title Loans, the Missouri Supreme Court applied the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion and upheld the lower court’s judgment that an arbitration agreement was unconscionable and unenforceable.
In this case, which I discussed in The Missouri Supreme Court Meets Concepcion: Robinson v. Title Lenders, Inc., the Missouri Supreme Court applied the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s opinions in Stolt-Nielsen, S.A. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp. and AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion and reversed the lower court’s judgment that an arbitration agreement was unconscionable and unenforceable and remanded the case to the trial court.