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No Cause of Action for Negligent Failure to Comply with a Judgment (Missouri) - Deane v. Mo. Emp'rs Mut. Ins. Co.

New case in which the court refuses to recognize a cause of action for negligent failure to comply with a judgment.  Court notes that negligent failure to comply with the terms of a judgment is not recognized as  an independent cause of action in Missouri and that the sole remedy available to the appellant was to pursue enforcement of the judgment.

Court Summary:

Stacey Deane ("Appellant") appeals from the Circuit Court of Boone County's dismissal of his petition against Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Company ("Insurer") in which Appellant asserted tort claims against Insurer for failing to comply with the terms of a worker's compensation award that had previously been entered as a judgment in Cole County. All of Appellant’s points on appeal are intertwined in that they are all focused on Appellant’s core contention that Missouri recognizes, or should recognize, a separate cause of action in tort based on an insurer negligently and with conscious disregard failing to comply with a workers’ compensation award on which an enforcement judgment has been entered pursuant to § 287.500.


Division One holds:

(1) A judgment entered to allow enforcement of a workers’ compensation award must be treated the same as any other final judgment entered by the circuit court.

(2) No cause of action for negligent failure to comply with a judgment has previously been recognized under Missouri case law, and this Court sees no compelling reason for doing so now.

(3) If Insurer has failed to comply with the judgment, Appellant certainly is entitled to pursue enforcement of that judgment in the Circuit Court of Cole County.

© Copyright 2023 Armstrong Teasdale LLP. All rights reserved National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 121

About this Author

John F. Cowling, Litigation Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale, Law firm

An accomplished litigator, John Cowling counsels organizations through a range of strategic business decisions. He practices primarily in the areas of general litigation, environmental litigation and information technology law.

Jeffery T. McPherson, Trial attorney, Armstrong Teasdale Law Firm

Jeff McPherson is a trial and appellate lawyer handling all phases of commercial, tort, real estate, municipal and governmental litigation. He is AV® peer review rated, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards. 

Laura A. Bentele, Litigation Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale, Law firm

Laura Bentele is an associate attorney in the Litigation group practicing in the areas of complex commercial litigation and white collar criminal defense. To achieve optimal outcomes, Laura anticipates clients’ strategic and practical business considerations. Committed to effective case management, she is versed in all phases of discovery, trial preparation and negotiation of settlements with opposing counsel. Laura strives to maintain open avenues of communication to ensure that clients receive representation that meets their business needs.