Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division
STATE EX REL. JAKE ZIMMERMAN, ST. LOUIS COUNTY ASSESSOR, Respondent,
AMOSO BLANC, ET AL., Appellants.
from the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri The Honorable
Patricia S. Joyce, Judge
Before: Mark D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge, Presiding, Cynthia L.
Martin, Judge and James E. Welsh, Senior Judge 
Cynthia L. Martin, Judge.
Amoso Blanc, et al. ("Taxpayers") appeal
from the judgment of the trial court issuing a permanent writ
prohibiting the State Tax Commission ("Commission")
from exercising jurisdiction over Taxpayers' appeals to
the Commission. Taxpayers argue that the trial court erred in
construing section 138.135.2 to preclude the Commission from
exercising jurisdiction over appeals from final decisions of
the county board of equalization issued in even-numbered
years. Taxpayers also claim that the trial court erred in
issuing a permanent writ of prohibition because the county
assessor had an adequate remedy at law, and because the
Commission had jurisdiction to hear Taxpayers' claims
that the county board of equalization unlawfully denied them
hearings. We affirm.
and Procedural Background
are owners of 95 residential properties located in St. Louis
County, a first-class county in Missouri. Respondent Jake
Zimmerman is the St. Louis County Assessor
2013, Taxpayers appealed the assessed values of their
properties, as determined by Assessor, to the St. Louis
County Board of Equalization ("County Board"). The
assessed values of six properties were settled between their
owners and Assessor before the County Board issued a decision
in 2013. The County Board issued decisions regarding assessed
values for Taxpayers' remaining 89 properties. Taxpayers
did not appeal the County Board's 2013 decisions to the
2014, Taxpayers appealed the assessed values of their
properties to the County Board for the 2014 tax year,
including the values of the six properties involved in
settlements with Assessor. The assessed values for the
properties were the same as had been determined by the 2013
settlements and/or County Board decisions.
County Board scheduled a hearing for each of the
Taxpayers' properties, but then dismissed the
Taxpayers' 2014 appeals without conducting hearings.
Taxpayers appealed the County Board's dismissal of their
2014 appeals to the Commission. The indicated basis for each of
the appeals to the Commission was overvaluation of the
property and the County Board's denial of a hearing.
Commission ordered Assessor to file a response to
Taxpayers' appeals. Assessor attached the response to an
e-mail correspondence with the Commission. In subsequent
e-mail correspondence to the Commission, Taxpayers asserted
that the County Board denied them hearings in violation of
section 138.135.3. The Commission entered an order permitting
Taxpayers' appeals and assigning a hearing officer.
filed a motion to reconsider and to dismiss the appeals for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Commission's
hearing officer denied Assessor's motion. Assessor filed
an application for review with the Commission. Assessor
asserted that Taxpayers had made no claims of new
construction or property improvements, and that based on
section 138.135.2, the County Board was not required to hear
the Taxpayers' appeals in 2014. The Commission denied
Assessor's application for review, finding that Taxpayers
were permitted to appeal to the Commission.
filed a petition for writ of prohibition with the trial
court. Assessor asserted that the Commission did
not have subject matter jurisdiction over Taxpayers'
appeals. Additionally, Assessor cited section 138.135.2,
arguing that it required County Board assessments issued in
an odd-numbered year to remain the same for the subsequent
even-numbered year, absent new construction or property
improvements in the odd-numbered year. Assessor stated that
none of the Taxpayers claimed that new construction or
property improvements occurred in 2013. Assessor maintained
that the Commission thus lacked jurisdiction over the 2014
appeals and lacked the power to change the 2014 assessments.
Assessor argued that a writ of prohibition was appropriate
because the Commission lacked jurisdiction, and to avoid
trial court entered a preliminary writ prohibiting the
Commission from acting on the 2014 appeals pending a final
decision from the trial court. Taxpayers intervened in the
writ proceeding, and a hearing was held on Assessor's
petition for writ of prohibition. Following the hearing, the
trial court entered judgment in favor of Assessor, making the
writ of prohibition permanent and prohibiting the Commission
from "exercising jurisdiction" over Taxpayers'
trial court held that a plain and clear reading of section
138.135.2 indicates that decisions rendered in odd-numbered
years by the County Board or the Commission control even-year
assessments absent new construction or property improvements.
The trial court found that Taxpayers had not claimed any new
construction or property improvements. Thus, the trial court
held that section 138.135.2 rendered the Commission powerless
to change the County Board's 2013 assessments, providing
a reason to grant the writ of prohibition. Furthermore, the
trial court determined that there was not an adequate remedy
by way of appeal for Assessor due to the high volume of
appealed assessments. As to Taxpayers' contention that
the County Board violated section 138.135.3 with respect to a
required hearing, the trial court concluded that section
138.135.3 did not apply to the appealed
filed this timely appeal.
review the issuance of a writ of prohibition for an abuse of
discretion. State ex rel. Cass Cty. v. Mollenkamp,
481 S.W.3d 26, 29 (Mo. App. W.D. 2015). An abuse of
discretion occurs "when the trial court's ruling is
clearly against the logic of the circumstances then before
the court and is so arbitrary and unreasonable as to shock
the sense of justice and indicate a lack of careful
consideration." State ex rel. Jackson Cty.
Prosecuting Attorney v. Prokes, 363 S.W.3d 71, 75 (Mo.
App. W.D. 2011) (quoting Anglim v. Mo. Pac. R.R.,
832 S.W.2d 298, 303 (Mo. banc 1992)). An abuse of discretion
also occurs if the trial court "fails to follow the
applicable statutes." State ex rel. Washington Univ.
v. Richardson, 396 S.W.3d 387, 391 (Mo. App. W.D. 2013).
Where the issuance of a writ is "'based upon
interpretation of a statute, ' our review of the
statute's meaning is de novo." Id.
(quoting Pitts v. Williams, 315 S.W.3d 755, 759 (Mo.
App. W.D. 2010)). In applying this de novo review,
"the primary rule of statutory interpretation is to give
effect to legislative intent as reflected in the plain
language of the statute." State ex rel. Bank of Am.
N.A. v. Kanatzar, 413 S.W.3d 22, 27 (Mo. App. W.D.
courts are primarily concerned with the correctness of the
result reached by the trial court, [and] are not bound by its
rationale and may affirm the judgment on any grounds
sufficient to sustain it." State ex rel. Feltz v.
Bob Sight Ford, Inc., 341 S.W.3d 863, 868 n.3 (Mo. App.
W.D. 2011) (quoting Russo v. Bruce, 263 S.W.3d 684,
687 (Mo. App. S.D. 2008)). The trial court's judgment
"will be affirmed if cognizable under any theory,
regardless of whether the reasons advanced by the trial court