James and Joann Forster (plaintiffs) purchased lakefront property in Missouri from Patrick and Janet Boss (defendants). The Bosses represented that the Forsters could obtain a permit for a boat dock on the property. However, the Bosses already had a boat-dock permit, which made it impossible for the Forsters to obtain one. Additionally, the Bosses promised to remove a swim dock from the front of the property but failed to do so. The Forsters sued the Bosses for fraud and breach of contract. Union Electric Company (Union) (defendant), the entity that granted permits for boat docks, was also made a defendant to the action. Union entered into a stipulation that it would grant a permit to the Forsters if it was determined that the Forsters were entitled to a permit under the land purchase agreement. After trial, the jury found for the Forsters and awarded compensatory damages, punitive damages, and an injunction. On the claim regarding the boat-dock permit, the jury awarded $12,250 in compensatory damages and $10,000 in punitive damages to the Forsters. The Forsters also obtained the permit for the boat dock. On the swim-dock issue, the jury awarded the Forsters $2,500 in compensatory damages. The Forsters also obtained a permanent injunction requiring the Bosses to remove the swim dock. The Bosses appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.