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Becker v. Knoll

Supreme Court of Kansas

January 30, 2015

JAMES BECKER and the ESTATE OF NORMAN BECKER, Deceased, by and through WILLIAM BECKER, Special Administrator, Appellants,
v.
HAROLD KNOLL, Appellee

Page 70

Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion filed August 3, 2012. Appeal from Finney District Court; PHILIP C. VIEUX, judge.

SYLLABUS

1. " Clear and satisfactory" evidence is equivalent in meaning to " clear and convincing" evidence. Clear and convincing evidence is evidence that shows that the truth of the asserted facts is highly probable.

2. The clear-and-convincing standard is an intermediate standard of proof between a preponderance of the evidence and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

3. When reviewing a ruling that a district court based on a clear and convincing evidence standard, an appellate court reviews all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the party bearing the burden of proof and will not reverse if the appellate court is convinced that a rational factfinder could have found the factual conclusions to be highly probable. In making that determination, the appellate court does not weigh conflicting evidence, judge the credibility of witnesses, or redetermine questions of fact.

4. The failure to produce evidence peculiarly within the knowledge or control of a party may create a rebuttable inference that the concealed information is unfavorable to the party.

5. Not all recordkeeping lapses are indicative of bad faith. The weight of the rebuttable inference depends upon the totality of relevant circumstances, including what other evidence is available.

Philip Ridenour, of Martindell Swearer Shaffer Ridenour LLP, of Cimarron, argued the cause and was on the briefs for appellants.

Gerald O. Schultz, of Schultz Law Office, P.A., of Garden City, argued the cause, and Charles E. Owen, II, of Charles E. Owen, II, P.A., of Garden City, was on the brief for appellee.

ROSEN, J. MICHAEL J. MALONE, Senior Judge, assigned.[1]

OPINION

Page 71

[301 Kan. 275]  Rosen, J.

This appeal involves an action by shareholders in a Kansas irrigation corporation against the president of the corporation, alleging breach of a fiduciary duty and seeking removal of the president as an officer and director. On review of an unpublished Court of Appeals opinion, this court is asked to determine whether the district court properly applied the appropriate legal standard following remand from this court in 2010.

The facts underlying this action are set out in our earlier opinion. See Becker v. Knoll, 291 Kan. 204, 205-06, ...


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