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Wood v. Pavlin

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division

March 31, 2015

JOHNNY WOOD, Appellant,
v.
RUSSCELL PAVLIN, as Trustee of the Charles Russell Wood R/L/T/A, dated 01/30/06, Respondent

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF DOUGLAS COUNTY. Honorable R. Craig Carter, Judge.

Jacob Y. Garrett, for Appellant.

Paul F. Sherman, for Respondent.

JEFFREY W. BATES, J. -- CONCURS. WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, P.J./C.J. -- CONCURS.

OPINION

DANIEL E. SCOTT, J.

In 1991, Mr. and Mrs. Wood effectively gift-deeded a 266-acre farm to their sons, Johnny and Russell, as joint tenants with right of survivorship. Five months before Russell died in 2011, he transferred his

Page 324

interest into his revocable trust without notice to Johnny.

Johnny sought judicial relief in 2013, alleging Russell's transfer was ineffective and that Johnny owned the whole farm as surviving joint tenant. Alternatively, if the transfer was effective, Johnny sought half the farm's value from Russell's successor trustee on an unjust enrichment theory.[1]

The trial court dismissed for failure to state a claim. An amended petition likewise was dismissed with prejudice. This appeal follows.

Claim on Appeal / Standard of Review

Johnny summarizes his core appellate assertions in one sentence:

Missouri should expressly protect a joint tenant's right of survivorship against the unconsented, unilateral action of a cotenant.

He acknowledges cases leaning against his position, but urges that he pleaded " a cause of action entitled to ...


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