punitive damages

Midwest Coal LLC v. Cabanas

In an action for fraudulent misrepresentation, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, concluding that the plaintiff, a coal company, was unable to prove damages for lost profits.

Lost profits are generally not recoverable as damages, because they are too speculative; however, they are recoverable with sufficient proof to provide a rational estimate of the amount of lost profit. In this case, however, the plaintiff had never turned a profit and was unable prove its case. (“With no history of profitability, Plaintiff cannot present sufficient evidence to prove lost profits from an existing commercial business.”)

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American Eagle Waste Industries, LLC v. St Louis County, Missouri

The Missouri Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs — trash haulers — weren’t entitled to relief from the county’s actions based on an implied-in-law contract theory, as the intermediate appellate court had held, because the county hadn’t received a benefit from the haulers. (“The essential elements of quasi-contract are: (1) a benefit conferred upon the defendant by the plaintiff; (2) appreciation by the defendant of the fact of such benefit; and (3) acceptance and retention by the defendant of that benefit under circumstances in which retention without payment would be inequitable.”) However, the haulers were entitled to relief because R.S. Mo. § 260.247 provides an implied private right of action.

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Holmes v. Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners

Former police officer Danny Holmes sued the Kansas City police department under the Missouri Human Rights Act and on breach of contract and whistleblower claims for the termination of his employment by the police department. The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District reversed the trial court’s judgment for Mr. Holmes on the breach of contract claim. The appellate court held that, while R.S.Mo. § 84.600 gives police officers a property right in continued employment, it does not give them a contractual right to sue for damages for wrongful termination. The court stated, “The general rule is that there is no private right of action to enforce a statute or regulation through an action for damages … and [w]here administrative review of a denied property right is adequate, parties may not” sue for damages instead. Further, R.S.Mo. § 84.600 doesn’t create a contractual term binding the board of police commissioners and a police officer.

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J M Neil & Associates, Inc. v. Alexander Robert William, Inc.

J M Neil & Associates, Inc. (“JMN”), a woman-owned business, entered into a teaming agreement in 2005 with Alexander Robert William, Inc. (“ARW”), a veteran-owned business, in hopes of being awarded a veteran set-aside General Services Administration contract. Under the teaming agreement, ARW would be the prime contractor under the GSA contract, and JMN would serve as a subcontractor to ARW. The teaming agreement contained a non-compete agreement that prohibited ARW from hiring the JMN employees who were to work on the GSA contract or attempting to influence them to remain with ARW after termination of the GSA agreement.

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