Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division
APPEAL fro THE CIRCUIT COURT OF DENT COUNTY. Honorable Kelly W. Parker, Circuit Judge.
AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.
For Appellant: Richard L. Schnake of Springfield, MO.
For Respondent: Charles T. Rouse of Salem, MO.
JEFFREY W. BATES, J. -- OPINION AUTHOR. DANIEL E. SCOTT, J. -- CONCUR. WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., C.J./P.J. -- CONCUR.
JEFFREY W. BATES, J.
This case involves a " Pasture Lease" (the lease) signed by Jan Wesslak (Jan) as landlord and Gary Turner (Turner) as tenant. The land subject to the lease was purchased by Jan with money she inherited from her mother, and title to the land was in Jan's name alone. After a dispute arose concerning the lease, Turner filed a two-count petition against Jan and her husband, Bob Wesslak (Bob). The two pleaded theories of recovery were breach of the written lease and quantum meruit. Following a bench trial, the trial court entered judgment in favor of Turner and against the Wesslaks on both counts of Turner's petition.
Jan did not appeal the entry of judgment against her. Bob has appealed the entry of judgment against him. He contends the trial court misapplied the law in entering judgment against him on either count of the petition because Bob is neither a party to the lease nor an owner of the land subject to the lease. We agree. Therefore, we affirm the judgment as to Jan, reverse the judgment as to Bob and remand with directions that the trial court enter a judgment in Turner's favor against Jan only.
Factual and Procedural Background
In 2008, Jan purchased 280 acres of land in Dent County. Jan used money she inherited from her mother to buy the property. The two deeds conveying the property identified the grantee as " Janet L. Wesslak, a married person[.]" Bob's name does not appear on either deed. The deeds were duly recorded.
In April 2010, Turner was looking for additional pasture land to raise cattle. He learned that 280 acres were available for lease four miles from his farm. Turner met with the Wesslaks and was instructed to negotiate with Jan. Bob found a contract on the internet and put together the lease. Jan signed the lease as landlord, and Turner signed as tenant. Bob did not sign the lease. In the lease, Jan agreed to lease the 280 acres to Turner for five years " to occupy and use for pasture purposes[.]" Both parties agreed to " [p]rovide loading and unloading facilities" by building a corral. Turner was to provide labor, and Jan was to provide the materials. At the time Turner signed the lease, he wrote a check for $2,500 payable only to Jan. Turner then built the corral on Jan's property.
A few months later, a dispute arose concerning the lease. According to Turner, the Wesslaks cut hay on the property and bushhogged certain fields, reducing the pasture available to feed his ...