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Hall-Bouldin v. Bouldin

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division

August 30, 2016

CHELLE A. HALL-BOULDIN, Respondent,
v.
DOUGLAS A. BOULDIN, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lincoln County Cause No. 08L6-FC00273-01 Honorable David H. Ash

          Gary M. Gaertner, Jr. Judge.

         Introduction

         Douglas A. Bouldin (Husband) appeals the trial court's partial summary judgment in favor of Chelle A. Hall-Bouldin (Wife) on Husband's motions to divide undivided assets and for fraud. Husband argues a genuine factual dispute exists regarding whether the parties' prior dissolution addressed all marital assets. Husband also argues that the trial court erred in determining that his fraud claim was barred by the statute of limitations. We affirm.

         Background

         On November 9, 2009, the dissolution court dissolved the marriage of Husband and Wife. The dissolution judgment incorporated a settlement agreement (Settlement) between the parties addressing, among other things, the division of marital property. The Settlement contained a provision for bank accounts, which stated the following:

Each party shall be deemed the owner of his or her own bank accounts. [Wife] is awarded all accounts at People's Bank and Trust, no matter how the accounts are titled.

         On October 18, 2011, Husband filed a motion to modify the dissolution judgment as it related to child custody and support, as well as a motion for contempt. Husband filed his third amended petition on November 10, 2014. This petition contained four counts: Count I, a motion to modify; Count II, a motion for contempt; Count III, a motion to divide undivided assets; and Count IV, a motion for fraud. The trial court severed Counts I and II from Counts III and IV.

         Counts III and IV concerned Husband's claim that Wife had failed to disclose certain bank accounts during the dissolution proceeding. In Count III, Husband alleged that ten bank accounts held at People's Bank and Trust Co. (the disputed accounts), with values totaling approximately $229, 276.27, should have been included as marital assets and divided by the dissolution court.[1] In Count IV, Husband alleged Wife deliberately failed to disclose these accounts, constituting fraud.

         Wife moved for summary judgment on Counts III and IV.[2] The trial court granted Wife's motion, finding that prior to the dissolution judgment, Husband's counsel had subpoenaed and had received from People's Bank and Trust Co. the records for each of the ten disputed accounts listed in his petition. The trial court also found that these accounts were divided in the parties' Settlement and subsequent dissolution judgment by the provision stating that all accounts at People's Bank and Trust were awarded to Wife. The trial court pointed out that the Settlement included language acknowledging that the parties had performed limited discovery regarding their respective assets and that they assumed the risks in doing so. Finally, the trial court found that Husband's claim for fraud was barred by the applicable five-year statute of limitations, running from April of 2009, when People's Bank and Trust Co. produced bank records for the disputed accounts. This appeal follows.

         Standard of Review

         In reviewing the trial court's summary judgment, we view the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, according him or her the benefit of all reasonable inferences from the record. ITT Commercial Fin. Corp. v. Mid-Am. Marine Supply Corp.. 854 S.W.2d 371, 376 (Mo. banc 1993). We take facts set forth by affidavit or otherwise in support of the motion as true unless contradicted by the non-moving party's response. Id.

         Our review of summary judgment is essentially de novo. Id. We employ the same criteria for testing the propriety of summary judgment as the trial court. Id., Summary judgment is appropriate where the movant demonstrates a right to judgment as a matter of law based on material facts about which there is no genuine dispute. IcL at 380-81.

         Discussion

         Husband raises two points on appeal. First, he argues that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on his motion to divide undivided assets because a genuine issue of material fact existed regarding whether two of the disputed accounts were divided in the dissolution judgment. Second, Husband argues that the trial court erred in determining his fraud claim was barred by the statute of limitations because he did not learn of the existence of the disputed ...


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