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Moore v. Armed Forces Bank, N.A.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

September 19, 2017

LAMAR MOORE, et al., Appellants,
v.
ARMED FORCES BANK, N.A., et al., Respondents.

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF JACKSON COUNTY The Honorable Joel P. Fahnestock, Judge.

          Before: James E. Welsh, Presiding Judge, Lisa White Hardwick and Gary D. Witt, Judges.

          LISA WHITE HARDWICK, JUDGE.

         Lamar Moore and Tony Moore (collectively, "the Moores") appeal from a judgment dismissing their lawsuit against Armed Forces Bank, N.A. The Moores contend the court erred in dismissing Counts II and III of their petition for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.[1] They also contend the court abused its discretion in denying their motion to amend their petition. For reasons explained herein, we affirm.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Over 30 years ago, friends and business partners Lamar Moore ("Lamar") and Gary Dickinson ("Dickinson") had a discussion about a business opportunity. Dickinson informed Lamar that he was planning to purchase Armed Forces Bank, N.A. ("Armed Forces Bank").[2] Dickinson and Lamar also discussed the possibility of Lamar's purchasing part of Armed Forces Bank as an investor. They agreed that Lamar would purchase a five percent interest for $180, 000. Lamar paid the purchase price to either Dickinson or Armed Forces Bank. As in prior dealings between Lamar and Dickinson, Dickinson handled the paperwork related to the stock purchase.

         In 1983, Lamar entered into a separation agreement with his wife, Shirley Moore ("Shirley") as part of their divorce. The agreement provided that Lamar would transfer his stock in Armed Forces Bank to Shirley. Thereafter, apart from informing Dickinson that Shirley was to receive his stock in Armed Forces Bank, Lamar did not take any action to transfer his stock to Shirley. Dickinson passed away in 1997. To Lamar's knowledge, no formal transfer of stock was ever made to Shirley.

         In 2009, Shirley died, and her son Tony Moore ("Tony") was appointed as the executor of her estate. As part of his duties as executor, Tony looked for but could not find any Armed Forces Bank stock certificates.[3] Lamar was also unsuccessful in his attempt to locate Armed Forces Bank stock certificates.

         Lamar and Tony later filed an action against Armed Forces Bank and Dickinson Financial Corporation[4] in the circuit court of Jackson County on December 9, 2015. They asserted claims of "Equitable Accounting, " "Replacement of Lost Stock Certificates, " and a breach of contract claim, which the Moores captioned as "Specific Performance or Alternatively, Damages."

         In April 2016, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Moores' petition. The motion asserted various grounds for dismissal, including that the petition failed to state a valid claim for relief, that the Moores' claims were barred by the statute of limitations, and that Lamar lacked standing to pursue the claims. The Moores filed a response in opposition to Defendants' motion to dismiss and requested leave to amend their petition in the event that the court found that their breach of contract claim failed to state a claim for relief.

         On August 10, 2016, the circuit court entered its judgment granting Defendants' motion and dismissing the Moores' petition with prejudice. Five days later, the Moores filed a motion to amend their petition along with a proposed amended petition. On October 7, 2016, the court entered an order denying the Moores' motion to amend their petition, noting that it had already implicitly denied the Moores' request to amend in its August 10, 2016 judgment and order. The Moores appeal.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         We review the grant of a motion to dismiss de novo and will consider only whether the grounds stated in the motion supported dismissal. Alridge v. Francis, 503 S.W.3d 314, 316 (Mo. App. 2016). We accept the plaintiffs' allegations in the petition as true and grant the plaintiffs all reasonable inferences therefrom. Campbell v. Cty. Comm'n of Franklin Cty.,453 S.W.3d 762, 767 (Mo. banc 2015). "The petition is reviewed in an almost academic manner, to determine if the facts alleged meet the elements of a ...


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