Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County Cause No.
12SL-AC17903-02 Honorable Mary E. Ott.
Colleen Dolan, Judge.
Bank (Appellant) appeals the trial court's order and
judgment holding that the laws of the State of Missouri
applied to the garnishment obtained by Baisch & Skinner,
Inc. (Respondent) against the property of Jeffrey G. Bair,
Grimm & Gorley, and J. Sent Inc. (Defendant). The parties
are familiar with the facts and we will not recite them here.
Nonetheless, we will discuss the facts as they relate to the
issues on appeal. We affirm the decision of the trial court.
Standard of Review
court-tried garnishment action, the standard of review is
controlled by Rule 84.13(d)and Murphy v. Carron, 536
S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976) (holding a trial court's
judgment will be affirmed unless there is no substantial
evidence to support it, it is against the weight of the
evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the law);
Cox v. Steck, 992 S.W.2d 221, 223-24 (Mo. App. E.D.
1999). Furthermore, the appellate court will sustain the
judgment of the trial court if the result was correct on any
tenable basis. U.S. v. Brooks, 40 S.W.3d 411, 412
(Mo. App. S.D. 2001).
initial matter, Missouri courts generally apply Missouri law
in determining whether a party's debt is properly subject
to garnishment actions. State ex rel. Government
Employees Ins. v. Lasky, 454 S.W.2d 942, 949-50 (Mo.
App. E.D. 1970) (citing § 525.010 RSMo 1959). A
garnishment is a statutory remedy which enables a judgment
creditor (the garnishor) to collect the amount of the
judgment by seizing the judgment debtor's property when
it is in the hands of a third party (the garnishee).
State ex rel. Eagle Bank & Trust v. Corcoran,
659 S.W.2d 775, 777 (Mo. banc 1983); Grissum v.
Soldi, 108 S.W.3d 805, 808 (Mo. App. S.D. 2003).
Missouri, garnishment actions are controlled by Chapter
and Rule 90. Anani v. Griep, 406 S.W.3d
478, 481 (Mo. App. E.D. 2013). Section 525.010 provides that:
All persons shall be subject to garnishment, on attachment or
execution, who are named as garnishees in the writ, or have
in their possession goods, moneys or effects of the defendant
not actually seized by the officer, and all debtors of the
defendant, and such others as the plaintiff or his attorney
shall direct to be summoned as garnishees.
Rule 90.04 "[t]he service of the writ of garnishment and
summons attaches the property subject to garnishment in the
garnishee's possession…at the time the writ of
garnishment and summons is served[.]" Similarly, §
525.040 provides that:
Notice of garnishment, served as provided in sections 525.010
to 525.480 shall have the effect of attaching all personal
property, money, rights, credits, bonds, bills, notes,
drafts, checks, or other choses in action of the defendant in
the garnishee's possession or charge, or under his
control at the time the service of the garnishment, or which
may come into his possession or charge, or under his control,
or be owing to him, between that time and the time of filing
these rules "unequivocally provide that it is service of
those documents that attaches the subject property, i.e.,
jurisdiction over the res, and nothing else suffices."
Grissum, 108 S.W.3d at 809. "A garnishee is a
mere stakeholder in the proceedings." Id.
"Whatever a garnishee may do respecting his own rights,
he is powerless to do anything which will affect the rights
of third persons[.]" Id. (internal quotations
omitted). Creditors may reach funds in the bank account of
another if the funds actually belong to the debtor.
Vaughn v. Spitz, 682 S.W.2d 847, 848 (Mo. App. S.D.
1984) (citing Hilke v. Bank of Washington, 251
S.W.2d 963, 966 (Mo. App. E.D. 1952)). "A valid judgment
and a valid execution are indispensable prerequisites to a
valid garnishment." Dunn v. Bemor Petroleum,
737 S.W.2d 187, 189 (Mo. banc 1987).
present case, Respondent brought a garnishment action against
Defendant and properly served notice of this garnishment on
Appellant in Missouri. Appellant, or the garnishee, applied
the garnishment to the Defendant's account and withheld
the amount of funds that were in the account on the day it
was served with the garnishment, which was less than the full
amount of the judgment owed to Respondent by Defendant.
Appellant is licensed to do business in both Missouri and
Illinois and is incorporated under the laws of
Missouri. Appellant failed to follow the order of
the Missouri court, which stated Appellant was to continue to
withhold funds from the account for the entire ...