Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Morphis v. Bass Pro Group LLC

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division

March 28, 2017

TOMMY MORPHIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
BASS PRO GROUP, LLC, TRACKER MARINE, LLC, and KEN BURROUGHS, Defendants-Respondents.

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF GREENE COUNTY Honorable Mark A. Powell AFFIRMED IN PART; REVERSED IN PART; REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS

         Tommy Morphis ("Morphis") filed this lawsuit against Bass Pro Group, LLC ("Bass Pro"), Tracker Marine, LLC ("Tracker Marine"), and Ken Burroughs ("Burroughs") (collectively, "Defendants") after Defendants failed to establish a "compensation plan and pay package" for Morphis's benefit. The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants and Morphis brings 11 points for our review on appeal. Morphis's first eight points concern the propriety of the summary judgment granted in favor of Bass Pro and Tracker Marine.[1] The remaining points concern actions taken by the lower court related to discovery by Morphis from Bass Pro and Tracker Marine before summary judgment was granted. Because his tenth point is dispositive, we reverse the trial court's judgment as to Bass Pro and Tracker Marine on this point and remand for further proceedings. The trial court's judgment as to Burroughs is affirmed.

         Procedural Background

         Morphis's petition, filed June 27, 2014, asserted 11 counts against Defendants. On January 14, 2015, [2] before any discovery was commenced by any party, Defendants filed a Motion for Protective Order to Limit Discovery. That motion alleged that these 11 counts were identical to a lawsuit that Morphis had filed against Bass Pro and Tracker Marine in 2010 and voluntarily dismissed on June 27, 2014. Defendants attached several exhibits to their motion purporting to be documents from the first lawsuit. Morphis filed a response requesting that the motion be denied.

         On February 19, 2015, the parties' attorneys appeared before Judge Powell and the trial court heard argument of counsel on the motion for protective order. The trial court took the motion under advisement. On February 27, 2015, by docket entry, Judge Powell entered an order stating:

AFTER CONSIDERATION, DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER TO LIMIT DISCOVERY IS SUSTAINED IN ALL RESPECTS EXCEPT THAT PLAINTIFF IS NOT LIMITED AT THIS TIME, AS TO THE WRITTEN DISCOVERY HE CAN PROPOUND TO NEW DEFENDANT KEN BURROUGHS. HOWEVER, THE COURT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO LIMIT WRITTEN DISCOVERY TO DEFENDANT BURROUGHS IF SUCH DISCOVERY BECOMES REDUNDANT OR OPPRESSIVE. THE COURT SPECIFICALLY ADOPTS JUDGE FITZSIMMONS DOCKET ENTRY OF 12-12-13.

         Judge Powell later granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants based on the conclusion that there was no genuine issue of material fact and that Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Morphis timely appeals.

         Discussion

         Because Morphis's ninth, tenth, and eleventh points concern actions taken before summary judgment was entered and could impact the material, undisputed facts set forth in the summary judgment record as to Bass Pro and Tracker Marine, we begin our review of Morphis's appeal with those points.

         Point Ten-Protective Order Limiting Discovery

         Morphis's tenth point contends:

The trial court erred and abused its discretion in entering an order prohibiting Plaintiff from directing any discovery to Bass Pro Group and Tracker Marine because the trial court abused its discretion and denied due process in entering the order in that discovery was never completed in the 2010 case, the 2010 case and the filings therein were a nullity, the trial court did not have any relevant discovery requests from the 2010 case before it when it entered its order, and said Defendants had objected to virtually every discovery request submitted to them in the 2010 case.

         Morphis's tenth point challenges the trial court's entry of the protective order as an abuse of discretion. We cannot determine, however, whether the order was an abuse of discretion because the order was entered without any case record or evidentiary basis to support a finding of good cause as required by Rule 56.01(c) for the entry of a protective order.[3]

         Defendants' motion for protective order requested that the trial court, "pursuant to Missouri Rule of Civil Procedure 56.01(c), " enter a protective order to "enforce sanctions that were imposed by Judge Fitzsimmons in the previously filed case for the misconduct of Plaintiff and his counsel" and "to protect Defendants from annoyance, undue burden, expense, and prejudice." Rule 56.01(c) states: "Upon motion by a party or by the person from whom discovery is sought, and for good cause shown, the court may make any order which justice requires to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.