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HeplerBroom Attorneys Gerard T. Noce, Beth A. Bauer, and M. Elizabeth Kellett Help to Obtain Permanent Writ of Prohibition from Missouri Supreme Court on Transfer of Venue Issue

On June 10, 2014, the Missouri Supreme Court granted a permanent writ of prohibition in favor of a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in seven separate cases.  Gerard T. Noce, Partner in HeplerBroom LLC’s St. Louis office, Beth A. Bauer, Partner in HeplerBroom’s Edwardsville office, and M. Elizabeth Kellett, Associate in HeplerBroom’s Edwardsville office, along with other counsel, secured the win for HeplerBroom’s client. 

The issue before the court was whether a timely-filed motion to transfer venue could be denied simply because movants did not specifically state that the motion was timely in their papers.

The court noted that there was no dispute between the parties that venue was improper in St. Louis City and that venue was proper in St. Louis County.  Moreover, there was no dispute that defendant’s motion to transfer venue was timely filed.  Rather, plaintiffs argued that defendant waived the argument that the motion was timely because its written pleadings did not specifically include an explanation as to why the motion was timely.  The court found no support for this position in the rules or case law and held that the trial court was required by law to sustain the timely filed motion to change venue. 

The court also refused plaintiffs’ request to transfer only the claims against defendant to St. Louis County and to leave the claims pending against the remaining defendants in St. Louis City.  The Court found that such an action would be duplicative, could lead to inconsistent results, and was not supported by the venue rule. 

Finally, the court ordered the preliminary writs be made permanent and instructed the trial court to transfer the cases to St. Louis County Circuit Court. 

The Missouri Supreme Court’s opinion is available at http://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=74213.