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.

Sterling v. Long

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division

January 17, 2017

STEVEN S. STERLING, ET AL., Respondents,
v.
TROY LONG, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri The Honorable Kenneth R. Garrett III, Judge

          Before: Mark D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge, Presiding, Thomas H. Newton, Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge

          GARY D. WITT, JUDGE

         Troy Lee Long ("Long") appeals the entry of judgment against him by the Circuit Court of Jackson County in favor of Sterling Real Estate Acquisitions, LLC ("Sterling Acquisitions") and Steven Sterling ("Sterling" and collectively "the Respondents") and granting the Respondents restitution of the premises and damages. Long raises three points on appeal. Long challenges the court's authority to grant the judgment (Point One) and argues that the Respondents failed to prove each element of the unlawful detainer action (Point Two) and that the court's decision was against the weight of the evidence (Point Three). We affirm.

         Factual Background[1]

         Long began residing at 901 SW Woods Chapel Road, Blue Springs, Missouri ("the Property") in late 2004 or early 2005. The Property originally belonged to his grandparents, and after their passing the Property was placed into the Villa De Alongi Trust ("the Trust"), of which Long was a beneficiary. Within a year of Long taking up residence at the Property, his uncle Jerry Bridge ("Bridge") also began periodically residing at the Property.

         In 2010, the Property was transferred out of the Trust and to Bridge. Following the transfer, both Long and Bridge continued to reside at the Property. There was no lease agreement, oral or written, between Bridge and Long at this time. In February of 2012, Sterling purchased the Property from Bridge through Sterling Acquisitions and leased the Property back to Bridge, which included an option for Bridge to re-purchase the Property. Even though the lease was between Sterling and Bridge, Sterling knew Long continued to reside at the Property and agreed that Long could still reside there so long as Bridge maintained his payments pursuant to the lease.

         Bridge made payments under the lease for approximately two years. Bridge defaulted on payments in August of 2014, and on August 5, 2014 Bridge and Long were given notice to vacate the Property. Bridge had vacated the premises sometime in the middle of 2014, but Long continued to reside at the Property and still resided there at the time of trial in 2015. Respondents filed their Petition in December of 2014 and their Amended Petition in April of 2015 for unlawful detainer. The cause was tried to the court. The trial court issued its judgment against Long and in favor of the Respondents. The court awarded restitution of the premises to the Respondents and damages in the sum of $18, 928.00 together with continuing damages in the sum of $1, 352.00 per month until possession of the premises is restored to the Respondents. Long now appeals.

         Standard of Review

As in any court tried case, we review the trial court's judgment under the standard of review established in Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976). [Blue Ridge Bank & Trust Co. v. Trosen, 221 S.W.3d 451, 457 (Mo. App.W.D.2007) ("Trosen I")] "Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court will be affirmed unless it is not supported by substantial evidence, it is against the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the law." McNabb v. Barrett, 257 S.W.3d 166, 169 (Mo. App. W.D. 2008) (internal quotation omitted). "We view the evidence, and permissible inferences therefrom, in the light most favorable to the trial court's judgment, and we disregard all contrary evidence and inferences." Brown v. Mickelson, 220 S.W.3d 442, 447 (Mo. App. W.D. 2007) (internal quotation omitted). "We defer to the trial court's factual findings, giving due regard to the trial court's opportunity to judge the credibility of the witnesses." Id. (internal quotation omitted). This court "is primarily concerned with the correctness of the trial court's result, not the route taken by the trial court to reach that result. Thus, the judgment will be affirmed if cognizable under any theory, regardless of whether the reasons advanced by the trial court are wrong or not sufficient." Trosen I, 221 S.W.3d at 457 (internal quotation and citation omitted).

Blue Ridge Bank & Trust Co. v. Trosen, 309 S.W.3d 812, 815-16 (Mo. App. W.D. 2010). Whether the trial court had the authority to render a judgment in a particular case is an issue that this court reviews de novo. See Ground Freight Expeditors, LLC v. Binder, 359 S.W.3d 123, 126 (Mo. App. W.D. 2011).

         Analysis

         Point One

         In Point One, Long argues that the trial court lacked authority, pursuant to section 534.300, [2] to enter its judgment against Long because he had been in continuous, peaceful, and uninterrupted possession and occupation of the Property for a period of more than ...


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.