Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Missouri Supreme Court Digest: Aug. 2, 2021

Staff Report//August 2, 2021

Missouri Supreme Court Digest: Aug. 2, 2021

Staff Report//August 2, 2021

Constitutional Law

Medicaid Expansion

Initiative Petition

Where Missouri citizens, who were eligible for Medicaid coverage under a new constitutional amendment that expanded the class of eligible participants, challenged a finding that the amendment did not become effective because the initiative petition was constitutionally invalid, the proposed intervenors failed to establish that they were entitled to intervene as a matter of right, and the judgment is vacated and remanded in part because the initiative petition did not violate the state ban on appropriation because it did not appropriate money and did not remove the general assembly’s discretion in appropriating money to Missouri’s Medicaid program.

Judgment is affirmed in part; vacated; remanded.

Doyle v. Tidball (MLW No. 77098/Case No. SC99185 – 14 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, per curiam) Appealed from circuit court, Cole County, Beetem, J. (Charles W. Hatfield, Alixandra S. Cossette, Lowell D. Pearson, R. Ryan Harding and Michael Martinich-Sauter, Jefferson City, MO and Joel Ferber, St. Louis, MO for plaintiffs) (Paul Martin and Elkin L. Kistner, St. Louis, MO for intervenors) (D. John Sauer and Jesus Osete, Jefferson City, MO for the state).




Special Law

Fire Protection District


Where a city and a resident challenged a judgment that found a statute regarding fire protection districts and annexation was not constitutionally invalid, the judgment is vacated and remanded because the house bill that enacted the statute violated the prohibition against multiple subjects, and the entire bill was invalid and could not be enforced because the invalid portions that do not relate to elections could not be judicially severed from the remaining valid portions of the bill.

Judgment is vacated; remanded.

City of De Soto v. Parson (MLW No. 77100/Case No. SC98891 – 12 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Wilson, J.; Russell, Powell, Breckenridge, Fischer and Draper, JJ., concur. Ransom, J., not participating) Appealed from circuit court, Cole County, Beetem, J. (y James M. Kreitler and Andrew J. Bauman, Hillsboro, MO for appellants) (Jason K. Lewis, St. Louis, MO for the state) (James Layton, St. Louis, MO for the fire protection district).




Domestic Relations

Property Division

Rule 74.06(b)


Where a wife challenged a judgment that found her motion to set aside a dissolution on the basis of fraud was mooted by the death of her husband, the wife’s claims were not procedurally barred, and the judgment is vacated and remanded because the husband’s death did not abate her motion since an action that primarily concerns property and only incidentally implicates personal issues does not abate with the death of a party, and the court may vacate only the property division portion of the judgment if the wife establishes fraud on remand.



Dissenting opinion by Fischer, J.; “I write separately because I disagree with the principal opinion’s conclusion that the doctrine of abatement does not apply to Wife’s Rule 74.06(b) motion. Because the circuit court rendered a final judgment dividing the property and that judgment is not subject to appeal or a motion for new trial, any action attempting to modify the judgment has abated due to Husband’s death. Even if Wife’s motion did not abate, the plain language of Rule 74.06(b) does not contemplate relief from a portion or portions of a final judgment or order, only relief from that final judgment or order as a whole. Therefore, even if Wife could eventually prove her speculative allegations, the circuit court could not merely provide relief from the property division; Rule 74.06(b) requires it to vacate the entire original dissolution decree. For these reasons, I respectfully dissent.”

Judgment vacated; remanded.

Olofson v. Olofson (MLW No. 77101/Case No. SC98043 – 42 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Breckenridge, J.; Russell and Draper, JJ., and Dowd, Sr.J., concur; Powell, J., dissents in separate opinion filed; Fischer, J., dissents in separate opinion filed; Wilson, C.J., concurs in opinion of Fischer, J. Ransom, J., not participating) Appealed from circuit court, Jackson County, Long, J. (Jonathan Sternberg, Kansas City, MO for appellant) (William C. Odle, R. Pete Smith and Tiffany A. McFarland, Kansas City, MO for respondent).



Medical Negligence

Non-Economic Damage Caps

Childbirth Complications

Where a woman, who claimed that her physicians acted negligently in the delivery of her child, challenged the trial court’s reduction of a damages award in her favor, the state cap on noneconomic damages does not violate the right to a trial by jury because medical negligence is now a statutory cause of action, and the defendants failed to preserve their claim regarding the periodic payment of damage, so the judgment is affirmed since sufficient evidence supported the finding that the plaintiff’s injuries were catastrophic.


Trial by jury

Dissenting opinion by Draper, J.: “By upholding section 538.210, the principal opinion rewards the legislature’s form over substance maneuvering rather than protect the constitutional right to trial by jury for all Missouri citizens, and especially for those who have suffered life-altering and catastrophic injuries due to the negligence of medical professionals. By condoning the legislature’s flagrant end-run around this vital constitutional protection, ‘the right to trial by jury [now] is defined not by the text and history of our constitution but instead by the whim of legislative prerogative.’”

Judgment is affirmed.

Velazquez v. University Physician Associates (MLW No. 77099/Case No. SC98977 – 25 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Fischer, J.; Wilson, C.J., Russell, Powell and Breckenridge, JJ., concur; Draper, J., dissents in separate opinion filed. Ransom, J., not participating) Appealed from circuit court, Jackson County, Torrence, J. (Russell S. Dameron and Kathleen M. Meier, Kansas City, MO for appellant) (Timothy M. Aylward and Robert Givens, and Craig A. Grimes and Janet I. Mittenfelner for the respondents).

Latest Opinion Digests

See all digests

Top stories

See more news