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Amoso Realty, LLC v. Milton

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division

December 27, 2016

AMOSO REALTY, LLC, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
MONIQUE MILTON, Defendant/Respondent, and BRYCE WEATHERS, Proposed Intervenor/Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Honorable Paula Perkins Bryant

          KURT S. ODENWALD, Judge

         Introduction

         Bryce Weathers ("Weathers") appeals from the trial court's order denying his motion to intervene in Amoso Realty's ("Amoso") suit for rent and possession against Monique Milton ("Milton"). Weathers filed his motion to intervene after Amoso (the plaintiff and counter-defendant) and Milton (the defendant and counter-plaintiff) filed a voluntary dismissal of all claims against one another under Rule 67.02(a).[1] Because the trial court's order denying Weathers's intervention motion was not a final appealable judgment under Section 512.020, [2] we dismiss this appeal.

         Factual and Procedural History

         Amoso filed a petition for rent and possession against Monique Milton. The petition alleged that Amoso was acting as the authorized agent of Weathers, the property owner, for purposes of the rent-and-possession action. The petition further alleged that Milton rented the property for $475 per month, and, due to Milton's failure to pay rent, Amoso sought restitution of the premises and damages for rent and other fees.

         In response, Milton asserted counterclaims against both Amoso and Weathers. The counterclaims alleged that Amoso and Weathers were negligent for failing to exterminate the bed bugs, and further alleged that Amoso and Weathers brought the rent-and-possession action in retaliation for Milton's reporting bed bugs to the St. Louis Health Department.

         The trial court entered an order granting leave for Milton to file a third-party petition against Weathers, but Weathers was never served and thus never became a party.[3] The trial court set a court date for January 2016.

         Amoso and Milton filed a joint "STIPULATION FOR DISMISSAL" on December 18, 2015. Regarding Amoso's claims against Milton, the stipulation stated that Amoso agreed to dismiss all claims against Milton with prejudice. The stipulation also stated that Milton would dismiss all of her claims against Amoso with prejudice and against Weathers-who had not yet been served-without prejudice. The corresponding entry on the trial court's docket was titled, "Dismissed by Parties."

         Weathers subsequently filed a motion to intervene in the rent-and-possession action, alleging that Amoso was the agent for Weathers in the lawsuit, and that Amoso and Milton had settled the case for their considerable benefit, without Weathers' "knowledge, consent or authorization, " thereby breaching Amoso's fiduciary duties to Weathers. Thus, Weathers requested leave to intervene.

         Almost two months later the trial court entered an order setting a hearing date on the motion to intervene. While our record does not contain a transcript of the hearing, the trial court subsequently ordered briefing on "whether the proposed dismissal of December 18, 2015 is valid or not as per the face of the present record."

         In a subsequent written order, the trial court denied Weathers's motion to intervene. The trial court reasoned that Amoso and Milton's Stipulation of Dismissal was a voluntary dismissal under Rule 67.02(a), which was effective-without judicial approval-on the date it was filed. Thus, the trial court found that it lacked jurisdiction and denied Weathers's motion to intervene. The written order did not contain the word "judgment, " but the corresponding docket entry stated, "SEE ORDER AND JUDGMENT-THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT BRYCE WEATHERS [sic] MOTION TO INTERVENE ... IS HEREBY DENIED. SO ORDERED: JUDGE PAULA P. BRYANT." The trial judge's name was typewritten. Weathers appeals.

         Discussion

         Before we reach the merits of the appeal, we have a duty to determine if Weathers is entitled to an appeal. State ex rel. Koster v. ConocoPhillips Co.. 493 S.W.3d 397, 399 (Mo. banc 2016). The right to appeal is purely statutory. Buemi v. Kerckhoff. 359 S.W.3d 16, 20 (Mo. banc 2011). No right to appeal exists unless specifically provided for by statute. Ia\ Section ...


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