Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
DENNIS L. PRESSON AND THERESA MELTON, Appellants,
BRIDGET A. PRESSON, Respondent.
from the Circuit Court of St. Francois County Honorable Shawn
M. Hess, Judge
L. Presson and Theresa Melton (collectively
"Appellants"), appeal the judgment of the Circuit
Court of St. Francois County granting Bridget A.
Presson's ("Respondent") motion to dismiss
their petition. Appellants are the children of Warner Lee
Presson ("Decedent"), and Respondent was
Decedent's wife at the time of his death. Appellants
argue two points on appeal: 1) the trial court erred in
finding that Appellants' claims were compulsory
counterclaims that should have been raised in prior
litigation; and 2) the trial court erred in finding
Appellants' claims were barred by §
473.360. Finding no error, we affirm.
September 2007, Decedent married Respondent. At the time of
the marriage, Decedent was the owner of multiple real estate
properties (the "Property"). In December 2007,
Decedent conveyed the Property to himself and Respondent as
tenants by the entirety via a general warranty deed
April 2010, Respondent attempted to convey the Property back
to Decedent as the sole legal owner via a general warranty
deed ("Deed II") waiving her marital, dower, and
homestead rights in the Property.
April 2013, Decedent attempted to convey the Property to
Appellants as joint tenants via a general warranty deed
("Deed III"). Decedent died a few months later.
individually and as personal representative of Decedent's
estate, filed a petition for discovery of assets against
Appellants ("Case I"). Respondent then filed a
motion for summary judgment, arguing that Deeds II and III
were nullities,  and therefore she was the sole owner of
the Property. Appellants filed no response to
Respondent's motion for summary judgment. Instead,
Appellants communicated to the probate court that summary
judgment should be granted in favor of Respondent.
24, 2016, the probate court entered its final order and
judgment, declaring that Respondent was the sole owner of the
Property, and that Deeds II and III were nullities.
the judgment became final, Appellants filed a petition
("Case II") claiming that from April 2013 until
June 2016, they performed services necessary to maintain the
Property, including paying the real estate taxes and utility
bills (the "Services"). Appellants asserted that
Respondent had been unjustly enriched because she refused to
compensate Appellants for their Services.
motioned to dismiss Appellants' petition. Following a
hearing, the trial court granted Respondent's motion to
dismiss, because Appellants' claims in their petition
were compulsory counterclaims under Rule
55.32(a) that should have been filed in Case I.
This appeal follows.
review a trial court's order granting a motion to dismiss
de novo. Gibbons v. J. Nuckolls, Inc., 216 S.W.3d
667, 669 (Mo. banc 2007). We assume the factual allegations
in the petition are true and do not try to weigh their
credibility or ...