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Long v. Hardin

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division

March 10, 2015

SONYA M. LONG, Respondent,
v.
NEENA F. HARDIN, Appellant.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County Honorable Colleen Dolan.

Kurt S. Odenwald, Presiding Judge.

Introduction

Appellant Neena Hardin ("Hardin") appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying her motion to set aside a sheriff's sale of residential real estate co-owned by Hardin and her sister Respondent Sonya Long ("Long"). Hardin alleges that the sale should have been set aside because she had no notice of the sale and because the sale price was so inadequate that it raises the presumption of fraud. However, Hardin offered no evidence as to what price the real estate may have brought at a fair sheriff's sale, and the record contains no evidence of fraud, collusion, or deceit in connection with the sheriff's sale of the Property. Accordingly, we find no error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Factual and Procedural History

Hardin and Long were the sole owners of real property in St. Louis County known and numbered as 2034 Sun Valley, St. Louis, Missouri 63136 ("the Property"). The Property was purchased on August 28, 1973, by Long, her husband Richard Moore ("Moore"), and her mother Glorious Hardin ("Mother"). Long, Moore and Mother signed a thirty-year note and deed of trust when they purchased the property. Long and Moore divorced in 1975, at which time Moore deeded his interest in the Property to Long and Mother. In 1991, Long and Mother executed a deed transferring Mother's interest in the Property to Long and Mother's other daughter, Hardin. Long continued to live in the Property and make the deed of trust payment until 1992.

In 2011, Long made a formal demand that Hardin buy out Long's interest in the property or sell the property. When Hardin refused to buy out Long's interest, Long petitioned the trial court for a partition of the Property. On March 13, 2013, the trial court entered its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and judgment ordering the Property to be sold and the net sale proceeds divided two-thirds to Long to one-third to Hardin. In its judgment, the trial court made a factual finding that the value of the property was $65, 000.

Hardin filed an appeal of the trial court's judgment that was later dismissed by this Court in Cause No. ED99923. The trial court then issued an order to the St. Louis County Sheriff to advertise and sell the Property in accordance with its March 13, 2013 judgment and Rule 96.21.[1]The St. Louis County Sheriff published notice of the sale in The Countian for four consecutive weeks starting with the January 24, 2014 edition and ending with the February 14, 2014 edition. On February 27, 2014, Long purchased the Property at the Sheriff's sale for a price of $10.

Hardin filed a motion to set aside the sheriff's sale and order a new sale on May 2, 2014. Hardin argued that neither she nor her attorney was notified that a proposed order of partition sale had been sent to the trial court, and therefore she was unable to review the order or request any modifications or conditions. Hardin further argued that the purchase price of $10 was so inadequate as to raise a presumption of fraud. For these reasons, Hardin requested that the trial court set aside the sheriff's sale and order a new sale of the Property. On May 15, 2014, the trial court denied Hardin's motion. This appeal follows.

Point on Appeal

Hardin presents one point on appeal, but within that point raises two separate allegations of trial court error.[2] First, Hardin alleges that the trial court erred in refusing to set aside the sheriff's sale because the Supreme Court Rules require that any proposed order of sale be presented by motion to the trial court with notice served on all parties. Second, Hardin alleges that the trial court erred in refusing to set aside the sheriff's sale because the sale price for the Property was so inadequate that it shocks the conscience and raises a presumption of fraud.

Standard of Review

We review the judgment of the trial court under the standard set forth in Murphy v. Carron. That is, we will affirm the judgment unless there is no substantial evidence to support it, it is against the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or ...


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