Capita.jpgMissouri workers who have had an existing injury worsened by a workplace related injury are going to find it difficult if not impossible to receive compensation for their injury. Missouri’s Second Injury Fund (SIF), which compensates injured workers when their job worsens an already existing disability, has stopped paying any new claims since March 2011, when attorney general Chris Koster ordered that all compensation for new permanent total disability claims be withheld. As of today, 55 Missouri workers have been denied compensation owed to them, out of concern that the SIF would become insolvent.

Missouri’s Second Injury Fund has been in place since after World War II, to compensate returning veterans who might have already had some type of disability, but were able to work. Caps imposed on the Fund’s funding have reduced its balance, and claims against it have been steady, with nearly 700 new claims a month.

For more information about Missouri Workers’ Compensation, click here.

school building.jpgA St. Louis City jury could not reach a verdict in a racial discrimination case brought against the St. Louis Public School District. The case was brought by Craig Gronemeyer, a long time employee of the District. Mr. Gronemeyer was demoted from his position of assistant principal at Vashon High School after the 2006-2007 school year. He claimed he was demoted because he was white. He testified at the trial that his principal, who was black, told him that black students were better off being taught by black teachers. The District denied that race was a factor in Mr. Gronemeyer’s demotion. The jury was apparently deadlocked at 8-4 in Mr. Gronemeyer’s favor.

divorce.jpgThe Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, recently upheld a trial court’s judgment in G.C. v. Greene County Juvenile Office, that terminated a father’s parental rights. The court held that the evidence showed that the father had anger issues, that the father did not recognize that the mother could not care for the child due to her mental illness, and that the father could not support the child since he chose to remain without a job. The court held it was in the child’s best interest to terminate the parental rights of the father.

In Allen v. Allen, the mother was appealing the trial court’s modification of child custody. The mother argued that the guardian ad litem that was appointed did not properly fulfill its duties, by not interviewing the child about alleged child abuse by his father. The appeals court held that the child had been interviewed too often, and any allegations of child abuse by the father had already been found to be not credible. The Southern District Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment.

Ford.jpgThe Missouri Supreme Court issued an opinion on January 25, 2011 in Moore v. Ford Motor Company, regarding whether Ford failed to properly warn consumers about the possibility of seat collapse when its Ford Explorer vehicles are involved in an accident, especially for people who are larger.

Ms. Moore was six feet tall and 300 pounds, and was involved in an accident where her seat collapsed. She was injured, and left a paraplegic. The Missouri Supreme Court found that the trial court erred in awarding a directed verdict in this case and found Plaintiff made a submissible case that the Explorer had potential dangers, and that Ford failed to warn of those dangers.

grocery store.jpgA Missouri jury recently entered a verdict in favor of Debra Belliveau in her personal injury lawsuit failed against HAC, Inc. The verdict was for $600,000, and the jury assessed 70% fault to the defendant and 30% fault to the plaintiff. Hence, the award was reduced to $420,000. Belliveau fell while entering a Price Chopper grocery store in St. Joseph, Missouri, causing a burst fracture in her back requiring fusion surgery. She claimed the store created a dangerous condition because it was a rainy day and store employees aligned the floor mats at the store entrance in such a way as to leave a slippery tile area exposed.

snowy road.jpgMissouri winter weather, including snow, ice, and wind, can make driving very dangerous and increase a driver’s chance of being involved in an automobile accident. The Missouri Department of Transportation gives drivers many safety tips to lower their chances of an auto accident in the winter, although many of these tips are relevant year-round.

Holiday driving brings more drivers to Missouri’s roads, and the Missouri Highway Patrol has released its report for the 2010 Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

car in water.jpgTwo Missouri men started the new year off with a bang when they were involved in a car accident whereby the car they were driving slipped off the Earth City Expressway and landed in a pond on Monday morning. Neither of the men were hurt, and both made it to shore. The police say the driver may have been going too fast.

parent and child.JPGTypically when a marriage ends in divorce in Missouri, a custody and visitation plan is entered by the court setting forth the rights of each parent. Often times, one parent stays in the family residence and one establishes another residence in the same area. Sometimes following a divorce, circumstances may change and a parent with custody of a child may wish to relocate along with the child. In Missouri, there are strict rules in place regarding child relocations.

Missouri has a statute that governs child relocation after a divorce, R.S.Mo. 452.377. That statute defines relocation as a change in a child’s principal residence lasting 90 days or longer. The statute further states that notice of any proposed relocation must be given to anyone that has custody or visitation rights with respect to the child being relocated. Certain information must be contained in the notice, and the notice must be provided at least 60 days prior to the proposed relocation date. The child may then be relocated once the 60 day period expires, unless a parent files a motion with the court asking the court to prevent the proposed relocation. If such a motion is filed timely, then the court will decide whether the proposed relocation is in the best interest of the child.

If you are facing a situation involving a child relocation following divorce, please contact the attorneys at Ponder Zimmermann LLC.

green light.jpgLast week a St. Louis County jury returned a $75,000 verdict for the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit arising out an auto accident. The car accident occurred in April, 2007. The plaintiff, Valjean Lewis, was traveling in a taxi when the driver turned left at an intersection and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. The plaintiff’s attorney, Amanda Murphy, argued the driver did not have the right of way to turn left, as there was not a green arrow, which was required at that intersection. The taxi driver was not present at the trial.

department of corrections.jpgAn employment discrimination lawsuit was filed last week alleging the Missouri Department of Corrections retaliated against a current employee, William Johnson. Mr. Johnson claims his employer has been retaliating against him after he served as a witness for a plaintiff in a separate employment discrimination lawsuit against the Department of Corrections. Specifically, Mr. Johnson claims his employer changed past performance reviews and implied that he had a mental illness after he testified in the other case. The Department of Corrections has declined comment.