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.

State ex rel. Anheuser-Busch, LLC v. Moriarty

Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc

December 24, 2019

STATE EX REL. ANHEUSER-BUSCH, LLC, Relator,
v.
THE HONORABLE JOAN L. MORIARTY, Respondent.

          ORIGINAL PROCEEDING IN PROHIBITION

          Zel M. Fischer, Judge

         Anheuser-Busch, LLC ("A-B"), filed a petition for a writ of prohibition directing the circuit court to vacate the portion of its March 5, 2018, order overruling A-B's motion to dismiss and to dismiss the underlying plaintiff's first amended petition with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. This Court issued a preliminary writ of prohibition. Because the plaintiff, John Esser, was neither aggrieved nor adversely impacted in Missouri, the MHRA does not provide a remedy for his claims. Considering neither the circuit court nor the court of appeals had the benefit of this Court's opinion in Tuttle v. Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers, Inc., No. SC97721, ___ S.W.3d___ (Mo. banc Dec. 24, 2019), also issued today, and because an adequate remedy can be provided by appeal, the preliminary writ is quashed.

         Factual Background and Procedural History

         Esser, a resident of Urbandale, Iowa, has worked for A-B since 1983, holding several different positions since that time.[1] In 2007, Esser became a retail sales director over a sales territory that included Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.[2] While Esser was a retail sales director, his direct supervisor, secretary, and other support staff were located in A-B's regional sales office in St. Louis, Missouri. While employed as a retail sales director, Esser made monthly trips to the St. Louis office for meetings, reviews, and training.

         Beginning in 2012, Esser alleged A-B began a pattern and practice of discriminating against its older employees in favor of its younger employees.[3] Specifically, Esser alleges the following in his first amended petition:

(1) In 2012, while in St. Louis, A-B's vice president of sales for the Midwest region informed Esser he was going to receive a performance rating of 3B[4]on his annual performance review, which was lower than his rating the year before;
(2)In 2013, Esser attended a meeting in St. Louis at which A-B's chief financial officer-and later vice president of sales- made questionable remarks about "experienced" and "mature" A-B employees;
(3)In 2013, A-B's vice president of sales for the midwest region informed Esser he was going to receive a performance rating of 1A[5] on his annual performance review;
(4)In 2013, Esser was given an "Expectations Letter" stating he could face termination or other disciplinary action if his performance did not improve in 90 days;
(5)In 2014, during a meeting in St. Louis, Esser was given another 3B rating in his annual performance review, meaning Esser would not receive a pay increase or stock options;
(6)In 2015, Esser's superior-who was located in St. Louis-informed him via telephone call he was receiving a downgraded 1A performance rating on his annual performance review;
(7)In 2015, Esser was informed via telephone call by three A-B directors-two of whom were located in St. Louis-he could not keep his current job as a retail sales director;
(8) In 2016, a memo was sent from the St. Louis office to all employees in Esser's region stating, effective immediately, Esser was moving to a non-equity market manager position.

         Esser filed a charge of discrimination against A-B with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights ("MCHR"). The MCHR provided Esser with a notice of right to sue, and Esser filed suit in the St. Louis City circuit court, alleging age discrimination in violation of § 213.055[6] and retaliation in violation of § 213.070.[7] A-B filed a motion to dismiss, or, in the alternative to compel arbitration. After the first motion to dismiss was filed, Esser amended his petition to include new allegations pertaining to his contacts with Missouri. A-B filed a second motion to dismiss, arguing Esser could not invoke the protections of the MHRA as an Iowa resident and employee. The circuit court overruled both the motion to dismiss and the motion to compel arbitration.[8]

         The circuit court's order recognized Missouri's presumption against extraterritorial application of laws, but ultimately concluded Esser stated a claim under the MHRA because "the acts alleged did not occur wholly outside of Missouri." After the court of appeals denied writ relief, A-B sought a writ of prohibition from this Court directing the circuit court to vacate the portion of its order overruling A-B's motion to dismiss and to dismiss Esser's first amended petition with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. This Court issued a preliminary writ of prohibition. At the time of these rulings neither the circuit court nor the court of appeals had the benefit of this Court's opinion in Tuttle v. Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers, Inc., S.W.3d (Mo. banc 2019). It is argued this Court could exercise its discretion to make the preliminary writ permanent or, in the alternative, quash the preliminary writ to give the circuit court the opportunity to reconsider the motion to dismiss in light of Tuttle. As demonstrated by Tuttle, A-B has an adequate remedy on appeal. See Rule 84.22(a).

         Standard of Review

This Court has jurisdiction to issue original remedial writs. Mo. Const. art. V, § 4.1.
A writ of prohibition is appropriate: (1) to prevent the usurpation of judicial power when a lower court lacks authority or jurisdiction; (2) to remedy an excess of authority, jurisdiction or abuse of discretion where the lower court lacks the power to act as intended; or (3) ...

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.