Articles Posted in Missouri Supreme Court

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In 2007, Anita Johnson purchased a vehicle from a dealership operated by JF Enterprises. Johnson signed numerous documents at a single sitting, including a retail installment contract and a one-page arbitration agreement. In 2010, Johnson sued the dealership, its president (Franklin), and the vehicle manufacturer (American Suzuki), claiming negligent misrepresentation. Franklin and JF Enterprises moved to compel arbitration based on the arbitration agreement. The trial court overruled the motion, finding that the installment contract did not refer to or incorporate the arbitration agreement and contained a merger clause stating that it contained the parties' entire agreement as to financing. The Supreme Court reversed after noting that contemporaneously signed documents will be construed together and harmonized if possible, holding that because the separate arbitration agreement was a dispute resolution agreement, not an additional financing document, it could be harmonized with the installment contract and was not voided by operation of the merger clause. View "Johnson v. JF Enters., LLC" on Justia Law

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Borrower brought suit against a payday loan company (Company), arguing that its arbitration agreement containing a class waiver was unenforceable. The trial court found that Company's arbitration agreement was unconscionable and unenforceable because its class waiver deprived borrowers of a meaningful remedy. The Supreme Court reversed in light of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, holding that that the trial court erred in finding that Company's arbitration agreement was unconscionable based on its class waiver and should have instead adjudicated whether the arbitration agreement was enforceable in light of Borrower's evidence relevant to her claims regarding ordinary state-law principles that govern contracts but that do no single out or disfavor arbitration. Remanded. View "Robinson v. Title Lenders, Inc." on Justia Law

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Missouri Title Loans appealed from a judgment finding that a class arbitration waiver contained in its loan agreement, promissory note, and security agreement (agreement) was unenforceable. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment insofar as it held that the arbitration waiver was unconscionable and reversed that part of the judgment ordering that the claim be submitted to an arbitrator to determine suitability for class arbitration, holding that the appropriate remedy was to strike the entire arbitration agreement. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Court's judgment and remanded for further consideration in light of AT&T Mobility, LLC. v. Concepcion. Applying Concepcion, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the presence and enforcement of the class arbitration waiver did not make the arbitration clause unconscionable; (2) the formation of the agreement was unconscionable; and (3) therefore, the appropriate remedy was revocation of the arbitration clause contained within the agreement. Remanded. View "Brewer v. Mo. Title Loans, Inc." on Justia Law

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The underlying dispute in this case involved a contract and tort action brought by homeowners in a subdivision against certain homebuilders, including the Kerckhoff defendants. The trial court ordered that the case be referred to mediation. The parties were unable to agree to terms in a written settlement agreement at the conclusion of the mediation. The homeowners and some defendants then filed motions to enforce settlement and motions for sanctions against the Kerckhoffs, alleging the Kerckhoffs acted in bad faith during the mediation. The trial court entered an order denying the motions to enforce settlement but granted the motions for sanctions. The Kerckhoffs filed a motion with the trial court requesting that its order be certified as final and appealable, and the court entered an order finding that its prior ruling imposing sanctions was final for purposes of appeal. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of a final judgment. The Supreme Court granted transfer and dismissed the appeal, holding that because the trial court's order imposing sanctions did not dispose of a "claim for relief," the trial court certification of its order as final and appealable under Mo. R. Civ. P. 74.01 was ineffectual. View "Buemi v. Kerckhoff" on Justia Law