Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Foreclosure of Liens for Delinquent Land Taxes By Action In rem Collector of Revenue

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division

November 8, 2016

IN THE MATTER OF FORECLOSURE OF LIENS FOR DELINQUENT LAND TAXES BY ACTION IN REM COLLECTOR OF REVENUE, CITY OF ST. LOUIS, MO, Plaintiff,
v.
PARCELS OF LAND ENCUMBERED WITH DELINQUENT TAX LIENS, Defendants, MATHEW BRADFORD, Appellant,
v.
PETER KELLY, COLLECTOR OF REVENUE, CITY OF ST. LOUIS, and SHERIFF, CITY OF ST. LOUIS, Respondents.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. Honorable Michael Noble

          Angela T. Quigless, P.J.

         Introduction

         Mathew Bradford ("Bradford") appeals the circuit court's judgment setting aside the default judgment against a parcel of property described as parcel 180-050, located at 2618 Dalton Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri; finding the Sheriff's sale of the property to Bradford null and void; and rendering Bradford's motion to confirm the sale moot. We dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

         Factual and Procedural History

         In October 2014, the Collector of Revenue for the City of St. Louis ("the Collector") filed a petition and list of parcels of land encumbered with delinquent taxes. The petition listed parcels of real estate which, on January 1, 2014, were delinquent in the payment of taxes to the City of St. Louis for a period of two years or more. Included in the list of delinquent parcels was real property described as parcel 180-050, located at 2618 Dalton Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri ("the property").[1]The petition listed Robert L. Kelly ("Robert Kelly") as the last named owner of record of the property, and it listed the property as his mailing address. However, Robert Kelly died in March 2013 and, at the time the petition was filed, he was deceased and ownership of the property had vested in his heirs.

         After the petition was filed, the Collector caused notice of filing of the petition to be published, and notice was also mailed to Robert Kelly's address on Dalton Avenue. Upon default, the circuit court entered a judgment of foreclosure against the property ("default judgment"). The court directed the property to be sold by the Sheriff of the City of St. Louis to satisfy the tax lien. Thereafter, Bradford purchased the property at the Sheriff's tax foreclosure sale. Bradford subsequently filed a motion to confirm the land tax sale.

         Prior to the confirmation hearing, Peter Kelly ("Kelly"), the son of the deceased Robert Kelly, learned of the foreclosure sale and filed a motion to intervene, which the court granted. Then, Kelly filed a motion to set aside judgment of foreclosure, arguing, inter alia, that neither Kelly nor the heirs of Robert Kelly received notice of the land tax suit, the intended sale, or the right to redeem the property.

         On January 7, 2016, the circuit court held a hearing on the motion to set aside. At the hearing, Kelly testified as follows: After Robert Kelly's death, the family hired an attorney to open a probate estate and take care of the property not in trust. When Kelly realized the attorney was not adequately handling the property, he went online to the Collector's website and learned there was one year of taxes owed on the property. However, the Collector's website provided, "A tax suit is filed when unpaid taxes are delinquent for three years. The tax sale occurs approximately one year after the suit is filed." Kelly attempted to pay the taxes online but was unable to do so. Then, Kelly went to the Collector's office where he was told the property had been sold. Kelly testified neither he nor the heirs of Robert Kelly received notice of the land tax suit or the intended sale of the property. Kelly testified they stood ready, willing, and able to pay any delinquent tax amounts.

         The court took the motion under submission and scheduled the confirmation hearing for a later date. On January 13, 2016, the circuit court entered judgment setting aside the default judgment, finding the Sheriff's sale null and void, and rendering the motion to confirm the sale moot. The court concluded the heirs exhibited due diligence in handling the affairs of Robert Kelly by hiring an estate attorney and conducting their own investigation. The court found the heirs reasonably relied on the Collector's website, which provided that a tax suit would only be filed when unpaid taxes were delinquent for three years. The court found the heirs did not receive notice of the lawsuit, the intended sale, or the right to redeem the property. Further, the court concluded the heirs stood ready, willing, and able to immediately pay outstanding tax obligations, interest, penalties, and cost of suit to satisfy the obligations.

         Bradford filed a motion to reconsider or, in the alternative, to set bond amount for appeal. The court denied the motion. On February 1, 2016, Bradford filed a notice of appeal. On February 26, 2016, the Collector dismissed with prejudice its action against the property.

         Discussion

         As a preliminary matter, we must address whether this Court has jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Kelly challenges our jurisdiction on appeal, arguing that (1) the circuit court's judgment setting aside the default judgment was neither final and appealable nor was it certified for appeal pursuant to Rule 74.01(b), [2] and (2) when the Collector filed its dismissal with prejudice, the circuit court and, therefore, this Court lost jurisdiction over the matter. We agree with both arguments.

         In order for this Court to have jurisdiction, there must be a final and appealable judgment. Acclaim Systems, Inc. v. Lohutko, 247 S.W.3d 601, 603 (Mo. App. E.D. 2008). A decision of a circuit court is "final and appealable only when it disposes of all the issues for all parties in the case and leaves nothing for future determination." Bellon Wrecking & Salvage v. Dave Orf, Inc., 956 S.W.2d 437, 438 (Mo. App. E.D. 1997) (internal citation omitted). However, Rule 74.01(b) provides an exception to the finality rule, "permitting a trial court to enter judgment on a single claim when multiple claims are asserted in a single case and certify its judgment as appealable upon an express ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.