Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
IN THE ESTATE OF GEORGE L. BRIGGS, DECEASED.
RENATE BARBER, Respondent/Petitioner-Respondent JONA A. BRIGGS, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF GEORGE L. BRIGGS, DECEASED, AND JONA A. BRIGGS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE OF THE GEORGE L. BRIGGS REVOCABLE TRUST AGREEMENT DATED JUNE 3, 2004, Petitioner/Respondent-Appellant,
APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF STONE COUNTY. Honorable Mark A. Stephens, Associate Circuit Judge.
For Appellant: Donald W. Ingrum of Branson, MO.
For Respondent: Michael L. Miller of Springfield, MO.
Nancy Steffen Rahmeyer, J. -- Opinion Author. Gary W. Lynch, J. -- Concurs. Mary W. Sheffield, P.J. -- Concurs.
Nancy Steffen Rahmeyer, J. -- Opinion Author
Jona A. Briggs, individually, as personal representative, and as trustee (" Briggs" ), appeals from the trial court's judgment finding that Briggs and Renate Barber (" Barber" ) reached a settlement agreement resolving three related lawsuits involving the division of real property between them, and granting Barber specific performance of that settlement agreement. Briggs raises two points of error -- (1) there was no substantial evidence to determine the legal description of the real property involved, and (2) " there was no substantial evidence to support the judgment or it misapplied the law" in finding that Briggs and Barber reached a settlement agreement. We affirm the trial court's judgment because, viewing the evidence as we must view it in accordance with our standard of review, there was substantial evidence to permit a competent surveyor to find and identify the real property involved, and to support the trial court's finding that Briggs and Barber reached a settlement agreement.
Facts and Procedural History
Viewed in accordance with our standard of review, the evidence showed the following. George L. Briggs, Jr. died on December 12, 2006. On February 9, 2007, Mr. Briggs' daughter, Jona A. Briggs, individually and as trustee of Mr. Briggs' trust, filed a petition to set aside two deeds executed by Mr. Briggs in favor of Renate Barber, Mr. Briggs' companion. Briggs subsequently filed an application for probate of a Will dated June 3, 2004 and letters testamentary, and, on March 9, 2007, was appointed personal representative of the estate of Mr. Briggs. On May 14, 2007, Barber filed a petition to contest Mr. Briggs' Will dated June 3, 2004 and establish a Will dated December 8, 2006 as Mr. Briggs' true Will. The defendants in the will contest included Briggs individually, as personal representative of the estate of Mr. Briggs, and as trustee of Mr. Briggs' trust. On June 12, 2007, Briggs, in her capacity as personal representative of the estate of Mr. Briggs, filed a petition to discover assets against Barber in an adversary proceeding within the estate of Mr. Briggs.
On June 18, 2012, Briggs and Barber along with counsel participated in mediation relating to these three lawsuits (i.e., petitions to set aside two deeds, contest a Will, and discover assets) without arriving at a resolution of the lawsuits. Later that day, counsel for Briggs extended to counsel for Barber by telephone an offer to resolve the lawsuits, and counsel for Barber accepted the offer. A short time later on the same day, counsel for Barber asked counsel for Briggs by email to " forward . . . a draft of the settlement agreement for my review." That evening, counsel for Briggs emailed to counsel for Barber " the outline of the deal as I understand it" in ten numbered paragraphs.
After counsel for Barber inquired about " the status of the settlement agreement" on July 9, 2012, counsel for Briggs emailed a draft settlement agreement to counsel for Barber on July 13, 2012. Counsel for Barber replied by email on July 17, 2012, " I added some basic provisions, but I agree with the substance of the agreement. If you approve of my suggested changes, I will forward to my client for signature."
On August 6, 2012, counsel for Briggs replied by email " [t]he changes ...