Defendant's Attorney: Kathleeen M. Nemechek and Stephen M. Bledsoe
Description: Liberty, Missouri personal injury lawyers represented Plaintiff, who sued Defendant on a hostile work environment theory under Missouri Human Rights Act "§§ 213.010-213.137, RSMo, (MHRA) and (2) failure to issue a proper service letter under § 290.140.1, RSMo.
judgment against LMV of $1,225,001.00 plus attorneys' fees and costs.
LMV raises four points on appeal. In its first point, LMV argues that the trial court should have instructed the jury using the MHRA's "motivating factor" causation standard, based on a 2017 amendment to the MHRA effective August 28, 2017, instead of the previous "contributing factor" standard because Weaver's hostile work environment claim accrued after August 28, 2017. LMV's second point, also based on the 2017 MHRA amendments, argues that the trial court should have enforced the $500,000 damage cap in § 213.111.4(2)(d), RSMo, effective August 28, 2017, because Weaver's hostile work environment claim accrued after August 28, 2017. In its third point, LMV argues that the trial court should not have entered judgment for Weaver on her "racial harassment" claim because she failed to plead a claim of racial harassment or racially hostile work environment in her petition. In its fourth point, LMV argues that the punitive damages award on Weaver's service letter statute claim was not supported by clear and convincing evidence. Finding no merit in LMV's arguments, we affirm.
AFFIRMED AND REMANDED TO TRIAL COURT TO DETERMINE APPELLATE ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS.
Division Three holds:
1. The trial court properly applied the pre-2017 version of the MHRA in instructing the jury on Weaver's claim of hostile work environment because Weaver had a vested right in that claim as early as August 2016, which could not be taken away by retrospective application of the 2017 amendment.
2. The trial court properly applied the pre-2017 version of the MHRA in not applying a damage cap to the judgment awarded to Weaver on her hostile work environment claim because that cap was part of the amendment effective August 28, 2017, and Weaver's claim vested before the amendment took effect.
3. Weaver sufficiently pled a claim of hostile work environment because the facts alleged in her petition showed the necessary series of interrelated events to support a hostile work environment claim even though the words "hostile work environment" were not used.
4. The jury's award of punitive damages on Weaver's service letter statute claim was supported by the record as a whole in that the clear and convincing evidence and reasonable inferences therefrom could support a finding by the jury that LMV did not mail the letter to her.
Miller-Weaver v. Dieomatic Inc. (Mo. App. 2022)
Outcome: AFFIRMED AND REMANDED TO TRIAL COURT TO DETERMINE APPELLATE ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS.