Articles Posted in Missouri Supreme Court

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Two retail stores offered customers the opportunity to finance their purchases through private label credit cards. The cards were issued by banks that paid to the retailer at the time of the sale the full amount of the purchase, including sales tax, for each transaction made using the credit cards. The retailer then remitted the applicable sales tax to the State. If a customer failed to pay his or her credit card debt, the issuing bank took any tax write off. The retailers in this case separately applied for refunds of the sales tax that the banks had written off. The Director of Revenue denied both requests. The Administrative Hearing Commission reversed and allowed the retailers to claim their respective sales tax refunds. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because, at the time of the initial transaction, the banks fully reimbursed the retailers for both the amount of the sales tax and the amount of the purchase on which that tax was based, the retailers were not entitled under statute to seek a refund of taxes the banks subsequently wrote off. View "Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The day after the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services (Division) began an investigation into allegations of child abuse by Taryn Williams, the Division stated that its investigation would be delayed beyond the thirty-day limit set forth by statute, noting that it had “good cause” to do so. Approximately 133 days after beginning its investigation, the Division notified Williams that it substantiated the report of abuse. The Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board upheld the Division’s decision. The trial court concluded that the Division had no good cause to extend its investigation beyond the initial thirty-day period and ordered the Division not to include Williams’ name on the central registry of child abuse and neglect perpetrators. The Supreme Court vacated the trial court’s judgment based on the same reasoning in Frye v. Department of Social Services, handed down this same day, holding that the trial did not have the authority to review the Division’s good cause determination. View "In re Williams" on Justia Law

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The trial court in this case ordered the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services (Division) not to include Mother’s name in the child abuse and neglect central registry as a sanction for the Division’s failure to comply with the ninety-day statutory deadline for investigations and determinations. The Division noted that its investigation into Mother’s alleged neglect of her children would be extended for “good cause” before it eventually determined that the evidence substantiated the allegations of Mother’s neglect. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that the legislature did not provide for a sanction in the event that the Division fails to meet the statutory deadline, and courts are not authorized to create one. View "Frye v. Levy" on Justia Law

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The Missouri Ethics Commission entered an order finding probable cause that John Impey violated the law by preparing and circulating pamphlets voicing his opposition to a ballot measure in Houston County without placing “Paid for by John Impey” on the pamphlets. Instead of appealing to the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC), Impey filed a petition for review in the circuit court. In his petition, Impey alleged that Mo. Rev. Stat. 105.961 violated the Missouri Constitution because it provided for review by the AHC before seeking judicial review of the MEC’s determination. The circuit court dismissed Impey’s petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 105.961 does not violate the Constitution and that Impey failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. View "Impey v. Mo. Ethics Comm'n" on Justia Law

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Employer terminated Employee for falsifying his doctor’s return-to-work certificate. Employee sought unemployment benefits, but the Division of Employment Security denied the application on the ground that Employee had been fired for misconduct connected with his work. The Labor and Industrial Commission affirmed the denial of unemployment benefits. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission did not err in denying benefits, as (1) willfulness is not required for all forms of misconduct; (2) Employee disregarded a standards of behavior that Employer had a right to expect from its employees; and (3) Employee’s misconduct was “connected to” his work. View "Seck v. Div. of Employment Sec." on Justia Law

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Commercial Barge Line (CBL) was a Delaware corporation and the single member of two limited liability companies, one of which was American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL). In 2007, the Department of Revenue (DOR) conducted an audit and determined that CBL and ACBL (together, Taxpayers) owed Missouri sales and use tax on goods and supplies delivered to ACBL’s towboats while the towboats traveled south on the Mississippi River. Taxpayers sought review of these assessments. The Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) upheld the DOR’s determination that Taxpayers owed Missouri sales and use tax on the goods and supplies at issue. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the AHC, holding (1) the sales and use tax assessments did not violate the Commerce Clause because the supplies were purchased or used within Missouri and were fairly related to the services the Taxpayers received from the state; (2) the taxes did not violate the Maritime Transportation Security Act because they were assessed on ACBL’s purchases and deliveries of supplies and not on the towboats; and (3) the relevant statute of limitations did not bar the DOR from assessing tax liability for the audit period, 2001 through 2006. View "Commercial Barge Line Co. v. Dir. of Revenue" on Justia Law

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In 2006, Appellant was injured in the course and scope of his employment when a large metal beam crushed his left foot. Appellant received workers’ compensation benefits for his injury. Appellant subsequently returned to work for Employer on “light duty.” Appellant was on a break to rest his foot when Employer’s owner terminated him. Thereafter, Appellant filed a claim of retaliatory discharge against Employer. A jury entered a verdict in favor of Employer. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) to make a submissible case for retaliatory discharge under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.780, an employee must demonstrate his or her filing of a workers’ compensation claim was a “contributing factor” to the employer’s discrimination or the employee’s discharge; and (2) the trial court erred in instructing the jury that it had to determine Appellant was discharged exclusively in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Remanded for a new trial. View "Templemire v. W&M Welding, Inc." on Justia Law

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Respondent, a Mississippi corporation with operations in several states, including Missouri, established a “rabbi trust” to fund its executive deferred compensation plan for company executives. In filing its 2007 Missouri corporate income tax return, Respondent reported income from the rabbi trust as “non-business” income and, therefore, reported and allocated all trust income to Mississippi and paid Mississippi income taxes on that income. The Missouri director of revenue determined that the trust income was business income subject to apportionment and taxation in Missouri. On appeal, the Administrative Hearing Commission concluded that the trust income was non-business income. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trust income was business income “used for the current operational purpose of attracting and retaining key employees” and was therefore subject to apportionment in Missouri. View "MINACT, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue" on Justia Law

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Appellant was a Missouri corporation that sold rides on untethered hot air balloons. Appellant collected sales tax on receipts of balloon rides and subsequently requested a refund of those sales taxes from the director of revenue. The director denied Appellant’s request. The director also assessed sales taxes on the amount paid to Appellants by third-party vendors and use taxes on a hot air balloon and inflator fan purchased in Texas. The administrative hearing commission (AHC) denied Appellant’s claim for a refund of the sales taxes paid and Appellant’s challenge to the assessment of sales and use taxes. The Supreme Court (1) reversed the ruling of the AHC as to the assessment of sales taxes on all sales of hot air balloon rides - those purchased directly from Appellant in Missouri and those purchased by flight certificate from out-of-state third-party vendors - because the taxes on those gross receipts were state taxes on air commerce, which are prohibited by the Anti-Head Tax Act; and (2) affirmed the AHC in regard to the assessed use taxes, holding that Appellant was liable for use taxes on equipment purchased outside of Missouri. View "Balloons Over the Rainbow, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue" on Justia Law

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After Appellant was convicted of felony driving while intoxicated (DWI), the director of revenue suspended Appellant’s driving privileges for a minimum of ten years. Appellant later filed a petition for limited driving privileges. The circuit court dismissed Appellant’s petition, determining that Appellant was statutorily ineligible for limited driving privileges pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 302.309.3(6)(b) due to his felony conviction. Appellant appealed, asserting that section 302.309.3 violated the equal protection clause of the state and federal constitutions by allowing DWI court participants and graduates to obtain reinstatement of limited driving privileges while denying a similar opportunity to non-participants. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant failed to establish that section 302.309.3 violated his right to equal protection. View "Amick v. Dir. of Revenue" on Justia Law