Missouri State Contract Cases 2012 (Part 08): Arbitration, Quantum Meruit, and Action on Account

Missouri Contract Cases

Johnson v. JF Enterprises, LLC

In this case that I discuss in Arbitration Might Just Be the Most Exciting Area of Contract Law, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District held that a merger clause in an installment contract precluded a separately-signed arbitration agreement from being effective.

McCoy v. The Hershewe Law Firm, P.C.

In a dispute among law firms over splitting attorneys’ fees in a successful medical malpractice case, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District affirmed the lower court’s judgment. Applying the principles of quantum meruit, the trial court heard evidence that the value of Hershewe’s services could range from $4,800 up to $950,000 and awarded the firm $40,000.

Harris v. Mid-West Egg Donation, LLC

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District reversed a trial court’s judgment granting summary judgment to a university hospital on a claim of fraudulent non-disclosure where the record was insufficient to determine whether the university owed a duty to the plaintiff. The case involved non-payment to a woman by a corporation that acted as an intermediary between women willing to sell their eggs and women willing to pay for them. The university extracted the eggs of women sent by the intermediary.

Marzette v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc.

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District upheld the trial court’s decision refusing to compel arbitration of disputes arising out of the defendants’ employment by Anheuser-Busch. The court held that an arbitration agreement contained in an application for employment was not binding due to lack of consideration. Although some courts have held that a potential employer’s willingness to consider an applicant for employment is sufficient consideration to support an arbitration agreement contained in an employment application, the appeals court declined to follow those courts.

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District v. St. Ann Plaza, Inc.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District sued St. Ann Plaza, Inc. and Tomax Development Corporation alleging claims of action on account, quantum meruit, and unjust enrichment for wastewater and storm water services MSD provided to real estate owned by the defendants. The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District upheld the trial court’s judgment in favor of MSD on its action on account claim (“Missouri law implies a contract between an owner of real estate who receives water and sewage services and the entity that provides such services”). However, the appeals court reversed an award of attorneys’ fees because the ordinance on which the award was based was not introduced into evidence. The appeals court also reversed the trial court with respect to its amended order holding the defendants jointly and severally liable for the charges.

Webbe v. Keel

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District affirmed the lower court’s judgment that the plaintiffs had not fully paid for property they had purchased through a contract for deed arrangement. The contract stated that the purchase price was “$30,000, less a 10% down payment of $3,000, for a balance due of $27,000”; that there would be 144 monthly payments of $300 each; and that the buyers (plaintiffs) would receive a deed “[w]hen the last payment is made, number 144 (one hundred forty-four).” The plaintiffs argued that their payment obligations were complete after 90 payments, because they had paid a total of $30.000. The court held that 144 payments were required, as provided in the contract, the additional money to be paid being due to the time value of money (i.e., interest).

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