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Comparing Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act with the Kansas Consumer Protection Act: A Look at These Laws’ Practical Applicability in Private Civil Actions by Charles Maxwell Simpson

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Consumer fraud is not an uncommon occurrence.  The FTC reported in 2007 that during a year-long study, 13.5 percent of American adults fell victim to fraud.  Despite laws created by the federal and state governments, this number remains too high.  The laws are intended to level the power inequality between consumer and seller inherent in modern market places.  While these laws all provide some benefit to consumers, they are not all created equal.  This comment examines differences for consumers between the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. … Read the full text …

Options for Employment Law Claims in Missouri and Kansas Courts by Amy D. Quinn

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A young woman named Sarah arrives at her appointment with an employment attorney in the Kansas City metropolitan area.  Her employer, a medium-sized company, is headquartered in Blue Springs, Missouri, but Sarah is one of many salespeople who make sales calls on both sides of the state line.  Her territory stretches from Topeka, Kansas, to Richmond, Missouri.  Over the past six months, Sarah’s supervisor has become increasingly inappropriate at their monthly meetings.  At a meeting three months ago over lunch at Bo Ling’s in Lenexa, Kansas, he asked Sarah to go to a late night concert with him and became enraged when she declined the invitation.  Last month, Sarah met the same supervisor for coffee in Kansas City, Missouri, to discuss her month’s sales, and he again asked her to see him socially, threatening a poor review if she did not “lighten up.”  She was terminated last week after being written up by this same supervisor for “poor work habits and a lack of interpersonal skills.”  She is consulting an attorney for advice on how to proceed in either getting her job back or suing her former employer for discrimination.   Because discriminatory acts occurred in both Missouri and Kansas, claims can potentially be filed in either state. … Read the full text …

Another Kansas City Border War: Why Eighth Circuit Law Regarding Selective Waiver of Attorney Client Privilege for Corporate Compliance in Government Investigations Trumps Tenth Circuit Law by Caroline M. Zuschek

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The marketing division of a company is at a trade show cocktail party in Kansas City. After five martinis, a representative of Company 1 lets it slip that his company is planning on dropping out of one market and raising prices in another. Also intoxicated, a representative of Company 2 says, “Well, if you do that…our company will likely drop the market in which you are raising prices, and will probably increase prices where you are withdrawing. It just makes sense…” Five months later after each company has withdrawn from one market and increased prices in the other, Company 1 launches a routine, internal self-audit conducted by counsel. During the investigation, the marketing employee mentions to counsel that he got a little tipsy at the last trade show and mentioned to his friends that the company would be withdrawing from market A and increasing prices in market B. The lawyer later discovers that the competitor company has increased their prices in market A, and withdrawn from market B, exactly as discussed at the trade show. Shortly thereafter, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launches an investigation on the loss of competition and the increase of prices in both markets. The corporation the attorney represents has strong internal ethics policies and wishes to disclose its findings to the FTC, but fears that disclosing such information to the government will result in litigation brought by the distributors who buy the corporation’s products. Can the lawyer make the disclosure to the FTC without waiving the attorney-client privilege that adheres to his communications with the marketing representative if such communications are sought by the distributors? … Read the full text …

Border Showdown: Why Kansas Should Reform Its Punitive Damages Statute to Even the Playing Field with Missouri by Sarah Lintecum

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Imagine this scenario.1 A young girl is driving home from work late at night. She stops in traffic at a stoplight. While waiting, she notices a black truck rapidly approaching her from behind. Anticipating a collision, she tries to get out of the way, but it is too late. The truck slams into the back of her car, forcing her car into the rear of the vehicle in front of her. She sustains severe injuries and is transported to the hospital. When a police officer asks the driver of the truck for his license and registration, he smells alcohol and marijuana smoke emanating from the truck. A search of the truck reveals a marijuana pipe, nineteen bags of marijuana, empty cans of alcoholic beverages, prescription bottles under the driver’s name, and a digital scale with residue on it. The driver admits to using both marijuana and cocaine just hours before the accident. Now, assume the girl lives in Kansas but the accident occurred in Missouri where the truck driver resides. The girl has a decision to make – should she file her case in Missouri or Kansas? As the law stands now, the choice is relatively easy. All else being equal, if she believes she can recover punitive damages for the truck driver’s wanton and reckless behavior, she should file in Missouri where the law is friendlier to recovery of punitive damages. … Read the full text …

Middle Ground in a Border War: Different Treatment of Juveniles in Missouri & Kansas by Brandi L. Kellam

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States for the purpose of treating juveniles accused of criminal misconduct differently than similarly situated adults.1 The systems were fashioned after the Chancery Court of Crime in England and intended to place the state “in the position of parens patriae” replacing the adversarial nature of normal criminal proceedings with “a paternal concern for the minor’s well-being.”2 Today states have adopted statutory systems for the treatment of those under the age of majority.3 Since their creation, these systems have been the subject of constant scrutiny and evolution. … Read the full text …

Advancement of Legal Expenses to Corporate Executives Under Missouri and Other Jurisdictions’ Law by Andrew Duncan

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In this comment, I intend to explore the concept of advancement, which is a contractual provision granting the right to advancement of legal fees and expenses by a corporation to a named party, usually an executive or high-level employee, with the employer footing the bill. This type of contractual agreement is explicitly authorized in Missouri by statute; however, Missouri courts have had precious few occasions to examine and construe the advancement law. In the few Missouri cases which have dealt with the issue, the courts have brought in decisions and reasoning from courts sitting in other jurisdictions, with particular emphasis on Delaware—the “capital” of corporate law in the United States. An exploration of Delaware and other foreign jurisdictions is necessary to supplement Missouri courts’ construction of both the advancement statute and contracts providing for advancement. Disputes over advancement often arise during shareholder derivative suits against corporate officers, as well as when the corporate employer sues a current or former corporate officer, thus raising the possibility of a corporation paying the legal expenses for its litigation opponent; these situations will be explored in this comment. Of particular interest is the question of whether a board of directors must first vote to approve the disbursement of advancement funds to an executive with whom the corporation is locked in legal battle, or whether an advancement guarantee to an employee (whether contained within an employment contract or a company’s bylaws) can override the express will of a board to deny advancement of such funds to its erstwhile employee. A further topic of discussion is whether a corporation’s claim of a violation by the former employee of his or her fiduciary duties by means of self-dealing can entitle a board to deny an advancement it otherwise would be contractually required to disburse to said employee. The distinction between advancement and indemnification will also be examined throughout this comment. … Read the full text …

The Difference Between Right and Wrong: How Missouri and Kansas Approach the Insanity Defense by Greg Doty

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On November 28, 2009, James Kraig Kahler, a former Columbia, Missouri city official, shot and killed his wife, her grandmother, and the couples’ two daughters in Burlingame, Kansas. At trial, Kahler’s defense counsel presented testimony that Kahler was severely depressed, “‘mentally overwhelmed’”, and “not able to control his behavior” at the time of the shooting. For instance, Kahler had discovered that “his wife was having a lesbian affair” and was seeking a divorce. He had also lost his job in Columbia, Missouri, and had moved to live with his parents in Topeka, Kansas, just weeks before the shooting. … Read the full text …

Border Wars: An Introduction to the Series By Casey Tourtillott

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The line separating Kansas from Missouri has long been a source of conflict. Whether it be the historic battles between the Jayhawkers and the Bushwhackers, or the once-annual NCAA showdowns between the University of Missouri Tigers and the University of Kansas Jayhawks, the rivalry runs deep.

Geographically, the Kansas City metropolitan area touches both states. And for attorneys practicing law in the greater Kansas City area, the state line still carries heavy significance. It matters whether a case is filed in Missouri or Kansas, in either federal court or state court. It matters a great deal. In the state arena, the laws of the states differ at varying levels. In the federal arena, practitioners face not only distinct district courts, but also different federal circuits: the Missouri federal courts lie in the Eighth Circuit while the Kansas federal court lies in the Tenth. Each court has in place its own policies, procedures, and rules.

Are these differences important? Absolutely. They are critical. Plaintiffs’ counsel must recognize which state’s law is more beneficial for their clients so that if they have a choice, they can file in the more favorable court. And defense counsel should recognize that unique defenses may be … Read the full text …

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