Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Missouri

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission awarding Employee workers’ compensation benefits representing fifty percent permanent partial disability of the body as a whole and the right to future medical care for her work-related mental injury. On appeal, Employer argued that the Commission misapplied the law and that the award was not supported by sufficient, competent, and substantial evidence. The Supreme Court remanded the cause, holding that the Commission failed to apply the the applicable and clear statutory standards when reviewing Employee’s claim. View "Mantia v. Missouri Department of Transportation" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court judgments denying two employers’ requests for permanent writs of mandamus against the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR). The circuit court rejected Employers’ arguments that the MCHR was required to first determine whether Employers’ employees’ complaints of discrimination were timely filed with the MCHR before the MCHR had authority to issue the employees a right-to-sue letter. The Supreme Court held (1) Mo. Rev. Stat. 213.111.1 requires the MCHR to issue a right-to-sue letter and terminate all proceedings related to a complaint if 180 days have elapsed and the employee has made written request for a right-to-sue letter; and (2) because that is what occurred in both of these cases, the MCHR was required to issue the right-to-sue letters, and the circuit court properly refused to issue writs directing the MCHR to perform an act the MHRA prohibits. View "State ex rel. Tivol Plaza, Inc. v. Missouri Commission on Human Rights" on Justia Law

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The Administrative Hearing Commission erred in finding that the St. Louis Rams did not have to pay sales tax on the entertainment license tax (ELT) they included and collected from ticket purchasers as the amount paid for admission during certain periods from 2007 through 2013. The Commission (1) ordered the director of revenue to issue a refund to the Rams for the ELT included in the period from February 2007 through January 2010; and (2) found the Rams were not liable for sales tax based on the ELT collected and remitted from February 2010 through January 2013. The Supreme Court reversed the Commission’s decision and remanded the cause for further proceedings, holding that the Commission erred in finding the portion of the ticket sales the Rams used to pay the ELT was not subject to sales tax because the ELT was included in the amount ticket purchasers paid for admission via the fixed ticket price charged by the Rams. View "St. Louis Rams LLC v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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Appellants, who owned residential property located entirely in St. Louis County, argued that Jefferson and Franklin counties systematically undervalued property in those counties, causing Appellants to bear a disproportionate share of the cost of operating multi-county taxing districts. After exhausting their administrative remedies, Appellants filed a petition in the circuit court challenging their 2011-12 property tax assessments. The circuit court dismissed the petition for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of Appellants’ administrative claims for review and their claim for declaratory relief, holding (1) Appellants failed to assert a violation of the uniformity clause in article X, section 3 of the Missouri Constitution; and (2) the State Tax Commission lacked jurisdiction to hear Appellants’ claims of inter-county discrimination on appeal from the St. Louis County Board of Equalization. View "Armstrong-Trotwood, LLC v. State Tax Commission of Missouri" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed an action challenging the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules’ (JCAR) authority to disapprove the “geographic sourcing” provisions of a 2010 rule promulgated by the Public Service Commission (PSC). Defendants argued that the case was moot because the PSC voluntarily withdrew the geographic sourcing provisions before the 2010 rule was published. The trial court initially granted the PSC’s motion for summary judgment. After Plaintiffs appealed, the PSC promulgated a 2015 rule that never contained geographic sourcing provisions. The circuit court subsequently dismissed the motion as moot because the 2015 rule did not have geographic souring provisions and the 2010 had been superseded and was no longer in effect. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, in light of the adoption of the 2015 rule, no purpose would be served by addressing JCAR’s actions regarding a superseded prior rule. View "State ex rel. Missouri Coalition for the Environment v. Joint Committee on Administrative Rules" on Justia Law

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Missouri American Water Company (MAWC) filed a petition to charge an infrastructure system replacement surcharge to its St. Louis County customers. The Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the petition. The Office of the Public Counsel appealed, arguing that the PSC lacked the authority to grant the petition because St. Louis County did not meet Mo. Rev. Stat. 393.1000-393.1006’s threshold population requirement at the time PSC approved the surcharge. The Office of the Public Counsel appealed. While the appeal was pending, MAWC and PSC reached an agreement establishing a new rate base that incorporated the costs of the MAWC projects for all then-existing surcharges. The Supreme Court dismissed this case as moot, holding (1) because the surcharge is no longer in effect and no effective relief may be granted, the issue as to whether MAWC can utilize the surcharge provisions of section 393.1003 is moot; and (2) the issues presented on appeal did not meet the requirements for an exception to the mootness doctrine. View "In re Petition of Missouri-American Water Company for Approval to Change its Infrastructure System Replacement Surcharge" on Justia Law

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In 2013, TracFone Wireless, Inc. sought refunds of the difference between the sales tax it paid on its sales to Missouri residents and the use tax it believes it should have paid, arguing that it qualified for the “in commerce” exemption from sales tax set out in section 144.030.1. The Director of Revenue denied the requested refunds. The Administrative Hearing Commission upheld the decision, finding that TracFone’s sales were subject to sales tax under Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.020.1(4) and that TracFone was not entitled to claim the “in commerce” sales tax exemption because the true object of the transactions was the sale of access to telecommunications services in Missouri, and the equipment was merely incidental to the sale of access to those services in Missouri. TracFone filed a petition for review, asserting that, while the sales at issue may be retail sales under section 144.020.1, they qualified for the “in commerce” exemption set out in section 144.030.1. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the transactions at issue did not qualify for the exemption set out in section 144.030.1 for sales “in commerce” between states. View "TracFone Wireless, Inc. v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The State Board of Nursing entered a disciplinary order imposing discipline on the nursing license of Karen Carpenter, including a three-year probationary period with numerous conditions and restrictions. The circuit court reduced the probationary period to one year and eliminated almost all conditions and restrictions imposed by the Board, concluding that the Board’s disciplinary order was arbitrary, unreasonable, and excessive. The circuit court then rejected Carpenter’s motion for attorney’s fees, concluding that Carpenter was not a “prevailing party” because she was still subject to discipline. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Carpenter “prevailed” when she petitioned, successfully, to have the probationary period on her license reduced to one year and to eliminate almost all of the conditions and restrictions imposed by the Board; but (2) Carpenter was not entitled to attorney’s fees under Mo. Rev. Stat. 536.087.1 because the Board did not take a position as to the discipline to be imposed on Carpenter’s license. View "Carpenter v. State" on Justia Law

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Gate Gourmet, Inc. owns and operates a facility near the Lambert-St. Louis International airport from which it sells frozen meals to various commercial airlines. Gate Gourmet filed sales tax returns for the tax years 2008-2010 in which it reported sales of frozen meals to its airline customers at the reduced sales tax rate of one percent as provided in Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.014. After an audit, the Director of Revenue issued sales tax assessments to Gate Gourmet totaling $296,357, concluding that the sale of airline meals should have been taxed at four percent under Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.020. The Administrative Hearing Commission upheld the Director’s determination. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission’s decision was based upon a proper construction of the law and was supported by competent and substantial evidence. View "Gate Gourmet, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue" on Justia Law

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Appellant, who was employed by the Missouri Department of Corrections as a corrections officer, was involved in a workplace accident. Appellant filed a claim for workers’ compensation seeking reimbursement from the Department for medical expenses. The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission denied Appellant’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits, finding that Appellant was involved in a workplace accident but that Appellant did not prove that the accident was the “prevailing factor” causing his medical condition. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Appellant proved by substantial and competent evidence that his workplace accident was the prevailing factor causing his medical condition. View "Malam v. State, Dep’t of Corr." on Justia Law