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Stewart v. Village of Innsbrook

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

April 28, 2017

MICHAEL P. STEWART and SANDRA L. STEWART, Plaintiffs,
v.
VILLAGE OF INNSBROOK, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JOHN A. ROSS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the following motions: Defendant Village of Innsbrook's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 14); Defendants Innsbrook Owners Association and Innsbrook Corporation's Motion to Quash for Insufficient Service of Process (Doc. No. 16); Defendant Charles Boyce's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 19); and Defendant Kevin Kuhlmann's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 24). The motions are fully briefed and ready for disposition.[1]

         I. Background

         On November 9, 2016, Plaintiffs Michael and Sandra Stewart (“Plaintiffs”) filed a Complaint against Defendants Village of Innsbrook (“Village”), Innsbrook Owners Association, Inc. (“Association”), The Innsbrook Corporation (“Corporation”), Charles Boyce (“Boyce”), and Kevin Kuhlmann (“Kuhlmann”), alleging violations of their constitutionally protected property rights, inverse condemnation, and interference with a contractual relationship. Plaintiffs allege that on May 20, 2004, they purchased Lot No. 897 of Innsbrook Estates from the Corporation (Complaint (“Compl.”), Doc. No. 1 at ¶ 1) and then contracted with various entities (not parties to this action) to purchase a modular home for their lot (Compl. at ¶¶ 20, 25). Plaintiffs allege that the Village issued Construction Permit No. 2104 for Lot No. 897 on May 23, 2007 (Compl. at ¶ 23). The first of the four sections of the home was delivered to Plaintiffs' Lot on or about October 2, 2007. (Compl. at ¶ 26) Plaintiffs further allege that Boyce, Kuhlmann, and one Rick Schmitt, refused to permit delivery of the remaining three sections of the home to their Lot on October 2, 2007, based on Village Ordinance No. 69 prohibiting modular homes. (Compl. at ¶¶ 18, 27)

         On or about October 15, 2007, Plaintiffs applied for a conditional use permit from the Village in an effort to resolve the delivery and installation issues. (Compl. at ¶ 32) They allege that on December 18, 2007, they were granted a conditional use permit that required them to satisfy various conditions before the other three sections of the modular home could be delivered to Lot No. 897. (Compl. at ¶ 37) On April 21, 2008, the remaining three sections of the modular home were delivered to Lot No. 897. (Compl. at ¶ 40) After the exterior and interior of the modular home was finished, an occupancy permit was issued on October 29, 2008. (Compl. at ¶ 41) Plaintiffs allege that the sections of the modular home were damaged due to the delay allegedly caused by Defendants and, therefore, the sections of the modular home could not be joined together properly during assembly. (Compl. at ¶¶ 42-44) They claim they eventually “lost the home” and were forced to file for bankruptcy due to additional financing costs, legal fees and construction costs, as well as a significant reduction in the value of the home. (Compl. at ¶ 44)

         The Complaint asserts causes of action against: (1) Defendants Village of Innsbrook and Village Administrator Kuhlmann for the alleged violation of their constitutionally protected property rights under § 1983 (Count I); (2) Defendants Charles Boyce and Innsbrook Corporation for the alleged violation of their constitutionally protected property rights under § 1983 (Count II); (3) Defendant Village of Innsbrook for inverse condemnation (Count III); and (4) all Defendants for tortious interference with a contractual relationship (Count IV).

         In their motions to dismiss, Defendants Boyce, Kuhlmann and the Village argue that based on Plaintiffs' complaint, all of the alleged actions taken by Defendants occurred in 2007 and 2008, more than five years before they filed this action on November 9, 2016, and thus are time-barred. Defendant Kuhlmann argues in the alternative that Plaintiffs' claim against him as the Village Administrator for tortious interference with a contractual relationship in Count IV is barred by the three-year statute of limitations for causes of action against government officials. The Association and the Corporation move to quash service of process.

         II. Legal standard

         In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must assume all the facts alleged in the complaint are true, and liberally construe the complaint in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Eckert v. Titan Tire Corp., 514 F.3d 801, 806 (8th Cir. 2008). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion based on the running of a statute of limitations, the Court may only grant the motion if it is clear from the face of the complaint that the cause of action is time-barred. Joyce v. Armstrong Teasdale, LLP, 635 F.3d 364, 367 (8th Cir. 2011); Jessie v. Potter, 516 F.3d 709, 713 n. 2 (8th Cir. 2008); Smith v. UPS Freight, No. 4:15-CV-382 JAR, 2015 WL 4274594, at *1 (E.D. Mo. July 14, 2015).

         III. Statutes of limitation

         A. RSMo. § 516.120

         The Supreme Court has held that § 1983 claims accruing within a particular state should be governed by that state's statute of limitations governing personal injury claims. Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 279-80 (1985). Recognizing Wilson, the Eighth Circuit has held the statute of limitations for general personal injury actions sounding in tort applies to suits for violation of civil rights under § 1983. Kitchen v. Miller, 343 F.Supp.2d 820, 821-22 (E.D. Mo. 2004) (collecting cases). Missouri imposes a five-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions. RSMo. § 516.120.4 (governing “an action for … any other injury to the person or rights of another”); see also Walker v. Barrett, 650 F.3d 1198, 1205 (8th Cir. 2011) (the statute of limitations for a § 1983 cause of action arising in Missouri is five years); D'Arcy & Associates, Inc. v. K.P.M.G. Peat Marwick, L.L.P., 129 S.W.3d 25, 29 (Mo.Ct.App. 2004) (the general statute of limitations for asserting a cause of action for tortious interference with a contractual relationship is five years).

         B. RSMo. § 516.010

         Under Missouri law, the statutory limitations period for an inverse condemnation claim is ten years. RSMo. § 516.010; Wyper v. Camden Cty., 160 S.W.3d 850, 853 (Mo.Ct.App. 2005); Shade v. Missouri Hwy. ...


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