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Sovreign Immunity Defense Upheld for University of Missouri

On March 23, 2021, the Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed a circuit court’s judgment in favor of the Curators of the University of Missouri, who were represented by Behr, McCarter & Potter, PC.

The case involved an alleged violation of Section 287.780 RSMo which prohibits discharge or discrimination of any employee for exercising their workers’ compensation rights. Plaintiff claimed that the Curators retaliated against her by terminating her after she filed a workers’ compensation claim. At the trial court level, the Plaintiff wanted to seek injunctive relief and also pursue a claim for damages against the Curators. Prior to trial, the attorneys for Behr, McCarter & Potter, PC argued the Curatorswere protected by sovereign immunity from the damages claim, and the court held in their favor. The injunctive relief claim proceeded to trial, and the court again held in favor of the Curators.

Plaintiff appealed the ruling and findings to the Missouri Court of Appeals where Behr, McCarter & Potter, PC again represented the Curators. On appeal, plaintiff argued the Curators were not protected by sovereign immunity, and that she should have been able to proceed on her damages claim in front of the trial court. The Court of Appeals disagreed with plaintiff and held that “civil actions seeking monetary damages against the Curators for retaliation against employees for their exercise of workers’ compensation rights are barred by sovereign immunity.” See Wille v. The Curators of the University of Missouri, ED109082 (filed March 23,2021).

At Behr, McCarter & Potter, P.C., our attorneys have a depth of knowledge and a wealth of experience to ensure the highest level of legal advice and appellate practice at your disposal. Our attorneys diligently handle matters from pretrial, to trial, and through appeal. Contact us today to learn more.

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