Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
Appeal from The Circuit Court of St. Louis County. 12SL-CC01826. Honorable Tom W. DePriest, Jr., Circuit Judge.
Robert E. Metzler, St. Louis, MO, for appellants.
Steven M. Cohen, John Grellner, St. Louis, MO, for respondents.
Gary M. Gaertner, Jr., Judge. Kurt S. Odenwald, P.J., concurs. Robert G. Dowd, Jr., J., concurs.
Gary M. Gaertner, Jr., Judge.
Audrey Silberman (Silberman) appeals the trial court's summary judgment in favor of NRT Missouri, LLC, Gail Ruebsam, and Jane Nuckolls (collectively, Respondents) on Silberman's negligence claim. Because her claim was time-barred by the applicable statute of limitations, we affirm?.
On January 1, 2008, Silberman's neighbors, Michael and Melissa Fleishour (the Fleishours), entered into a contract to buy properly adjacent to Silberman's properly. The sale was scheduled to close on February 21, 2008. Silberman alleged that sometime before closing, she notified both the buyers' and seller's agents, Gail Ruebsam and Jane Nuckolls, that she had a claim of adverse possession as to a small strip of properly located at the boundary line between Silberman's property and the property the Fleishours had contracted to purchase. The closing took place as scheduled, and the Fleishours alleged they had no notice of Silberman's adverse possession claim at the time of closing.
After closing, Silberman unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate execution of a deed for the property she claimed from the Fleishours. She states that her attorney sent the Fleishours a letter on April 25, 2008, demanding a deed for the property she claimed by adverse possession, which she says the Fleishours refused sometime in June of 2008. On June 17, 2008, Silberman filed her claim of adverse possession in the circuit court, and on February 26, 2010, the court entered judgment in her favor. On May 16, 2012, the Fleishours filed suit against Respondents, including claims of fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and professional negligence, all based on the allegation that Respondents knew of Silberman's adverse possession claim but failed to inform the Fleishours of such claim before closing.
On April 29, 2013, Silberman filed a motion to intervene in the Fleishours' suit against Respondents, which the trial court denied. Silberman moved to reconsider, and the trial court allowed Silberman to file her petition for damages on July 17, 2013. Silberman's petition contained a single claim of negligence against Respondents, alleging that by failing to notify the Fleishours of Silberman's adverse possession claim before closing, Respondents deprived Silberman of opportunities short of litigation that could have occurred before closing regarding her adverse possession claim.
Respondents filed a motion for summary judgment on Silberman's negligence claim, arguing that Respondents did not owe Silberman any duty of care, and Silberman's alleged damages were not proximately caused by Respondents. Respondents also argued that Silberman's claim was time-barred under the applicable statute of limitations. The trial court granted Respondents' motion for summary judgment on each ground asserted in the motion. This appeal follows.
Standard of Review
Our review of a trial court's summary judgment is essentially de novo. ITT Commercial Fin. Corp. v. Mid-Am. Marine Supply Corp.,854 S.W.2d 371, 376 (Mo. banc 1993). We review the record in the light most favorable to the party against whom summary judgment was entered, taking the non-movant's facts as true and granting the non-movant the benefit of all reasonable inferences from the record. Id. We must affirm the trial court's summary judgment ...