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Contracts: Agreement To Limit Damages-Notice-Personal Injury Case

Where an insurer challenged the denial of its motion to set aside judgments in a dispute over an agreement to limit damages in a personal injury lawsuit being handle by a personal injury attorney, the amount of insurance coverage, the judgment is affirmed because the parties to the lawsuit entered into their agreement under the version of the statute effective at the time the case was tried, so a subsequent version of the statute with new notice requirements did not apply.

Right to intervene

Opinion dissenting in part and in result by Stith, J.; “The revisions to section 537.065 simply give an insurer the right to written notice and an opportunity to intervene. The revisions to section 537.065 do not purport to give an insurer an automatic right to set aside a judgment entered or any other rights beyond what any intervenor would have. As a party seeking intervention as of right after judgment already had been entered, Seneca had a right to argue its motion to intervene was timely and, if it was timely, the circuit court should set aside the judgment due to the alleged failure to comply with the notice requirement of the 2017 version of section 537.065. The merits of such a motion, or any other relief sought, is governed by the law normally applicable to such motions and can be addressed by the circuit court on remand.”

Judgment is affirmed.

Desai v. Seneca Specialty Insurance Company ((MLW No. 73435/Case No. SC97361 – 20 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Russell, J.; Fischer, C.J. and Powell, J., concur; Stith, J., dissents in part and in result in separate opinion; Draper and Breckenridge, JJ., concur in opinion of Stith, J.) Appealed from circuit court, Jackson County, Kanatzar, J. (Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon, James F. Bennett and Michael J. Kuhn, St. Louis, and Dale L. Beckerman, Kansas City, Missouri, for appellant) (Jeffrey M. Bauer and Steven B. Garner, in Springfield, and Jessica M. Agnelly and Samuel M. Wendt, Kansas City, Missouri, for respondents).