Articles Posted in Missouri Supreme Court

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Trish Carcopa purchased a unit in Parkway Towers, a condominium, and later executed a quit claim deed conveying the unit to herself and Nicole Carcopa. Nicole subsequently executed an adjustable rate note that was a refinancing of the original purchase-money lien. The note was secured by a deed of trust that was held by Appellant at the time of this dispute. Parkway Towers brought a petition to judicially foreclose on its lien, alleging that Trish and Nicole failed to pay their assessments and dues and asserting it had a first and prior lien on the unit. The trial court found Parkway Towers' lien was superior to Appellant's deed of trust and ordered Parkway Towers' lien to be judicially foreclosed. Appellant appealed, claiming Mo. Rev. Stat. 448.3-116 was unconstitutionally vague and ambiguous with respect to its application to determine priority between a refinancing deed of trust and a delinquent condominium association assessment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statute was not vague and ambiguous and that Appellant's lien did not receive priority. View "Bd. of Managers of Parkway Towers Condo. Ass'n v. Carcopa" on Justia Law

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Appellants lost their home in a foreclosure sale. When Appellants failed to vacate the home, Wells Fargo Bank, the foreclosure purchaser, sued for unlawful detainer. Appellants raised equitable defenses and counterclaims concerning the validity of Wells Fargo's title. Wells Fargo successfully moved to dismiss the defenses and counterclaims on the ground that they exceeded the statutory scope of issues that may be litigated in an unlawful detainer action under Mo. Rev. Stat. 534.210. The circuit court then granted summary judgment to Wells Fargo. Appellants appealed, arguing that section 534.210, which prohibits a defendant from raising equitable defenses and/or challenges to the validity of the plaintiff's title in an unlawful detainer action, was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) statutory limitations on the scope of unlawful detainer actions are not unconstitutional; and (2) Appellants failed to raise a genuine issue of fact concerning Wells Fargo's right to possession. View "Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Smith" on Justia Law

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Hawthorn Bank appealed the trial court's entry of summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs on Hawthorn Bank's claim that its purchase-money deed of trust being recorded after the mechanics' liens attached to the property. Hawthorn Bank asserted that purchase-money deeds of trust are always superior in priority to mechanics' liens under Missouri law and that the recording statutes, Mo. Rev. Stat. 442.380 and 442.400, do not govern the relative priority of a purchase-money deed of trust over a mechanic's lien. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, holding that because sections 442.380 and 442.400 provided that Hawthorn Bank's purchase-money deed of trust was not valid until recorded and because the mechanics' liens attached before it was recorded, the purchase-money deed of trust was a subsequent encumbrance that was inferior in priority to the mechanics' liens. View "Bob DeGeorge Assocs., Inc. v. Hawthorn Bank" on Justia Law

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David and Glenette Nothum sought a writ prohibiting the circuit court from compelling them to testify in a judgment debtor's examination conducted pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 513.380. The court ordered the Nothums to testify despite their assertion of the privilege against self-incrimination and held them in contempt when they refused to do so, finding that the immunity granted to the Nothums pursuant to section 513.380.2 was coextensive with their constitutional privilege. The Supreme Court granted a permanent writ of prohibition, holding that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering the Nothums to testify, as the immunity in this case did not include derivative use immunity and, so, was not coextensive with the Nothums' constitutional privilege. View "State ex rel. Nothum v. Circuit Court (Walsh) " on Justia Law

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This case concerned the tax sale of certain property to KSSO, LLC. The circuit court entered partial summary judgment awarding quiet title to the property to Catherine Ndegwa as trustee of the Mrema family revocable trust. KSSO, LLC asserted that the circuit court improperly entered summary judgment in favor of Ndegwa and the trust because there was a sufficient question of material fact as to whether KSSO provided Ndegwa with timely and sufficient notice of Plaintiffs' right to redeem the property. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the circuit court's order did not resolve a single, distinct judicial unit, and therefore, was neither a final nor appealable judgment in this case. View "Ndegwa v. KSSO, LLC" on Justia Law

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This case involved the question of how the amount of a deficiency owed by Fischer & Frichtel Inc, a commercial debtor, after a foreclosure sale of its property should be measured. The trial court submitted an instruction directing the jury to award the difference between the amount of the debt and the property's fair market value at the time of the foreclosure sale. The court then granted First Bank's motion for a new trial in light of its showing that Missouri case law instead requires the deficiency to be determined by the difference between the debt and the amount received at the foreclosure sale. The Supreme Court affirmed after discussing Missouri common law, which requires that the deficiency should be measured by the amount received at the foreclosure sale, but if the sale price is so inadequate as to raise an inference of fraud, then the foreclosure sale can be voided. View "First Bank v. Fischer & Frichtel, Inc." on Justia Law