Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division
from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis
1622-CC09956-01 Honorable Michael F. Stelzer
M. CLAYTON III, PRESIDING JUDGE
Emsweller ("Plaintiff") appeals the trial
court's grant of judgment on the pleadings in favor of
Bi-State Development Agency of Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan
District ("Defendant") on Plaintiff's petition
seeking damages against Defendant under the Missouri Human
Rights Act ("MHRA"). We affirm.
The Relevant Allegations in Plaintiff's Petition
this appeal involves a grant of a motion for judgment on the
pleadings, it is important to initially set out the relevant
allegations of Plaintiff's petition. These allegations
are as follows.
worked for Defendant from approximately 2002 through 2015 as
a service manager in Defendant's Call-A-Ride Division for
residents of the St. Louis area. Defendant initiated a
practice prior to Plaintiff's termination where Medicaid
riders were refused transport service to certain locations,
while non-Medicaid riders were not. Plaintiff believed the
practice was discriminatory of African-American riders and
expressly voiced his concerns to superiors. Shortly after,
Plaintiff was terminated on March 19, 2015, for an alleged
troubled behavioral pattern.
Plaintiff was terminated, he filed a complaint of
discrimination with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights
("MCHR") on September 4, 2015, related to his
termination. 273 days later, on June 3, 2016, the MCHR issued
a right-to-sue letter to Plaintiff. Then, Plaintiff filed a
petition against Defendant in the Circuit Court of the City
of St. Louis alleging his termination violated the MHRA.
Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's action on
the grounds Defendant is an interstate compact which would
not subject it to the MHRA ("the interstate compact
defense"). The circuit court denied Defendant's
motion to dismiss on April 11, 2017. Then, Defendant filed
its answer, again asserting the interstate compact defense.
on August 21, 2018, this Court issued its decision in
Jordan v. Bi-State Development Agency, 561 S.W.3d 57
(Mo. App. E.D. 2018). There, our Court found "the
increase in potential employer liability that accompanied the
different burdens of proof under the MHRA and the [Illinois
Human Rights Act] imposed an impermissible unilateral burden
on [the defendant Bi-State Development Agency of
Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District]." Id.
at 58, 62. Our Court further held that the defendant Bi-State
Development Agency of Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District
was not subject to suit under the MHRA as the statutes
existed prior to the 2017 amendments, because Defendant is an
interstate compact and had an impermissible burden under the
MHRA. Id. at 58, 59 n.1, 62, 62 n.2; see
also footnote 1 of this opinion.
Jordan, Defendant filed a motion for judgment on the
pleadings in this case, again asserting the interstate
compact defense. The circuit court granted Defendant's
motion. Plaintiff then filed this appeal.
raises one point on appeal, asserting the trial court erred
in granting Defendant's motion for judgment on the