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May 23, 2017

With all of the rainfall that has hit Missouri lately, you might have a leaky basement. Sometimes sellers of homes know that the basement has leaked during heavy rainfall but hide that information from the buyers. Typical causes of action asserted in failure-to-disclose litigation are breach of contract, negligence, and violation of the Missouri’s consumer protection statute, the Merchandising Practices Act (MPA), Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.010, et seq. The fact that a sale has been designated “as is” might defeat a contract claim but probably not a claim under the MPA.

The MPA can be a defendant’s nightmare in a failure-to-disclose case. It covers residentia...

May 12, 2017

To be patentable as a utility patent, an invention must have three attributes: utility, novelty, and nonobivousness.

“Utility” means the invention must work and have value. False or misleading inventions such as perpetual motion machines are considered to lack utility (because they do not work) and are therefore unpatentable.

“Novelty” means that the literature does not record anyone ever making or conceiving of your particular invention. So if, for example, an old issue of Popular Mechanics shows your invention then your invention lacks “novelty”. However, is someone secretly previously conceived of your invention but no publication shows this, then you...

1. You did not timely answer and now you have a default judgment against you. If a defendant does not answer or otherwise respond to a petition in a timely manner (usually within 30 days of service for a Missouri Circuit Court case), the plaintiff may take a default judgment. Missouri Supreme Court Rule 74.05(a) provides: (a) Entry of Default Judgment. When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend as provided by these rules, upon proof of damages or entitlement to other relief, a judgment may be entered against the defaulting party. The entry of an interlocutory order of default is not a c...

May 5, 2017

The purpose of zoning is to improve a community through land use planning and control of land development. The goal is to confine certain uses to designated areas without imposing undue burdens on individual property owners. The public interest in regulating land development for the benefit of the community is balanced against the private interest in individual freedom to use property for whatever purposes desired. Huttig v. City of Richmond Heights, 372 S.W.2d 833, 842 (Mo. 1963). Zoning adversely affects individual property rights, limiting development of even those uses that are not intrinsically offensive or harmful. Nevertheless, zoning is general...

May 4, 2017

Historically, horse theft in Missouri was very common – particularly in Clark County, near the borders between Missouri and near Iowa and Illinois.

In the 1800s, horse theft was a big problem. In 1854, the Anti Horse Thief Association was informally organized. In 1859, the Anti Horse Thief Association was formally organized in Kansas. By the start of WWI, there were more than 40,000 members. Other anti horse-theft organizations, in other parts of the United States, were also formed. With the automobile, particularly when car ownership became common, horse theft decreased. With a decrease in horse theft, most such organizations dissolved.

However, horse t...

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