FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF DIETERICH, f/k/a FIRST STATE BANK OF RED BUD, Respondent,
POINTE ROYALE PROPERTY OWNERS' ASSOCIATION, INC., Appellant.
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF TANEY COUNTY The Honorable Tony
C. WILSON, JUDGE.
Pointe Royale Property Owners' Association (the
"POA") appeals from a partial judgment entered in
favor of Plaintiff First National Bank of Dieterich, f/k/a
First State Bank of Red Bud (the "Bank"). The trial
court resolved the Bank's first count in its favor,
declaring that the Bank was not obligated to pay past due
assessments by the POA on properties the Bank purchased at a
foreclosure sale. The trial court certified this order for
immediate appeal under Rule 74.01(b) and reserved judgment on
Bank's second count, i.e., slander of title, until after
this appeal of the Bank's first count is concluded.
Because the trial court's partial judgment did not
dispose of a distinct judicial unit, however, it was not a
"final judgment" for purposes of section
512.020(5), RSMo Supp. 2004. Accordingly, this Court has no
authority to review this judgment, and the Bank's appeal
must be dismissed.
Pointe Royale subdivision is a common interest community
governed by the POA and a recorded declaration of covenants
(the "POA Declaration"). The POA Declaration
governs the relationship between the developer of the
community and all residential and condominium owners in the
community. Under the POA Declaration, the POA is entitled to
collect assessments from all property owners for the benefit
of the community. Article X, section 1 of the POA Declaration
provides that "each Owner of a Lot … shall be
deemed to covenant and agree to pay to the Association: (1)
Annual Assessments, and (2) Special Assessments."
ensure these assessments are paid, the POA Declaration gives
the POA two separate and distinct remedies: (1) to place a
lien on the property in the amount of the assessment, or (2)
to sue the property owner directly to collect the assessment
as a personal obligation. Article X, section 7 of the POA
Declaration states: "If Assessments have become
delinquent, such Assessments shall bind property in the hands
of the then Owner, his heirs, devisees, personal
representatives and assigns. The personal obligation of the
Owner to pay such Assessments shall remain his personal
obligation and shall pass to successors in title."
Bank provided loans to owners of eight condominium units
within the Pointe Royale subdivision. Each of these loans was
secured by a deed of trust. In time, all eight of these
owners became delinquent on their loans to the Bank and
failed to make timely payments on the POA's assessments.
As provided in the POA Declaration, the POA filed liens
against all eight properties for the past due assessments.
The Bank foreclosed on its deeds of trust and - at the
subsequent foreclosure sale - purchased all eight properties.
Thereafter, the POA demanded payment from the Bank for all
new assessments on the properties it purchased. The POA also
demanded the Bank pay all assessments that were past due at
the time the Bank purchased the properties at the foreclosure
Bank paid all of the assessments but filed a lawsuit against
the POA. In its lawsuit, the Bank sought relief in two
counts: (1) a declaratory judgment action seeking a
declaration that the Bank did not owe the assessments that
were past due when it purchased the properties and,
therefore, that the Bank was entitled to a refund of the
amounts it had paid; and (2) an action for monetary damages
caused by the POA's slander of the Bank's title to
the eight properties.
28, 2013, the Bank's lawsuit was tried to the bench. As
to Count I, the trial court declared that the liens regarding
the POA's pre-foreclosure assessments had been
extinguished by the foreclosure. In addition, the trial court
declared there was no basis to hold the Bank personally
liable for those assessments and, therefore, entered judgment
ordering the POA to refund those amounts to the Bank. As to
Count II, the trial court noted the Bank had stated a cause
of action for slander of title but adjudged that,
"[p]ursuant to the agreement of counsel, if the Judgment
entered herein is appealed, the Court will reserve Count II
of [the Bank's] petition for separate trial depending on
the outcome of this case on appeal." The POA timely
appealed the judgment on Count I, and this Court granted
transfer following an opinion in the court of appeals.
Court has an obligation, acting sua sponte if
necessary, to determine its authority to hear the appeals
that come before it. Gibson v. Brewer, 952 S.W.2d
239, 244 (Mo. banc 1997). "'The right to appeal is
purely statutory and, where a statute does not give a right
to appeal, no right exists.'" Buemi v.
Kerckhoff, 359 S.W.3d 16, 20 (Mo. banc 2011) (quoting
State ex rel. Coca-Cola Co. v. Nixon, 249 S.W.3d
855, 859 (Mo. banc 2008)). Though there are many statutes
governing the right to appeal, the only statute even
potentially applicable to the present case is section
512.020(5). This statute provides, in relevant part:
Any party to a suit aggrieved by any judgment of any trial
court in any civil cause from which an appeal is not
prohibited by the constitution, nor clearly limited in
special statutory proceedings, may take his or her appeal to
a court having appellate jurisdiction from any ... (5)
Final judgment in the case or from any special order
after final judgment in the cause ....
§ 512.020 (emphasis added).
a final judgment is defined as one that resolves "all
issues in a case, leaving nothing for future
determination." Transit Cas. Co. ex rel. Pulitzer
Publ'g Co. v.Transit Cas. Co. ex rel.
Intervening Emps.,43 S.W.3d 293, 298 (Mo. banc 2001)
(internal citation omitted). As a result, any judgment that
resolves only part of a claim, or that resolves some of the
claims pending in a lawsuit but ...