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Cityview Real Estate Services, LLC v. K.C. Auto Panel, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

February 19, 2019

CITYVIEW REAL ESTATE SERVICES, LLC AND WALDO CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, LLC, Appellants,
v.
K.C. AUTO PANEL, INC. AND JERRY VAUGHN, ET AL., Respondents.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri The Honorable Jack R. Grate, Judge

          Before Cynthia L. Martin, Presiding Judge, Victor C. Howard, Judge and Thomas H. Newton, Judge

          Cynthia L. Martin, Judge

         Cityview Real Estate Services, LLC ("Cityview") and Waldo Capital Management, LLC ("Waldo") (collectively "Landowners") appeal a judgment in their unlawful detainer action which awarded them possession of real property located at 9620 E. 350 Highway, Raytown, Missouri (the "Premises"). Though the Landowners prevailed on their claim for possession of the Premises against K.C. Auto Panel, Inc. ("K.C. Auto"), Jerry Vaughn ("Vaughn"), and John Doe and Mary Doe (collectively "Defendants"), they challenge the judgment's conclusions that other claims related to the Defendants' occupation of the Premises were waived, and that the Landowners would be required to incur the expense of disposing of personal property remaining in the Premises. Finding no error, we affirm.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On March 1, 2018, Landowners filed a verified petition for unlawful detainer ("Petition") against the Defendants. The Petition alleged that the Premises were owned by Cityview, whose predecessor and agent was Waldo. The Petition alleged that the Premises had been acquired from Penta Enterprises, Inc., an entity controlled by Vaughn, on October 27, 2017, pursuant to a deed-in-lieu agreement. The Petition further alleged that after Vaughn signed the deed-in-lieu agreement on behalf of Penta Enterprises, Inc., he and K.C. Auto claimed to have an oral lease with Penta Enterprises, Inc. for the Premises. The Petition alleged that personal property belonging to K.C. Auto remained in the Premises, and that as a result, the Defendants were unlawfully occupying the Premises. The Petition sought a judgment against all named Defendants for possession of the Premises; a judgment against K.C. Auto for $37, 750.28 in rent for the months of November 2017 through February 2018; and a judgment against all named Defendants for attorneys' fees and costs.

         Vaughn and K.C. Auto answered the Petition. They admitted the deed-in-lieu transfer of ownership of the Premises, and that K.C. Auto still had personal property in the Premises. They also alleged that K.C. Auto had been denied access to the Premises to retrieve its personal property. Vaughn and K.C. Auto demanded a jury trial.

         Thereafter, Vaughn and K.C. Auto moved to consolidate the Landowners' unlawful detainer action with a separate lawsuit they filed against the Landowners to resolve who owned the personal property remaining in the Premises. In the motion to consolidate, Vaughn and K.C. Auto alleged that neither have access to the Premises, and that the Landowners' only basis for claiming they are in unlawful possession of the Premises is the presence of K.C. Auto's personal property.

         The Landowners opposed the motion to consolidate, and described communications before they acquired the Premises where they attempted to coordinate with Vaughn and K.C. Auto to remove the personal property. The Landowners noted that despite these efforts, the personal property was not removed by Vaughn and K.C. Auto before the deed-in-lieu agreement was finalized. The Landowners subsequently attempted to auction the personal property, though the auction was cancelled when K.C. Auto claimed ownership of the personal property. The Landowners argued that they now own the personal property based on documents signed in connection with the deed-in-lieu agreement.

         The matter was set for jury trial on April 23, 2018. On April 9, 2018, the parties appeared for a pre-trial conference. In lieu of proceeding to a jury trial, the parties agreed to submit the matter to the trial court for disposition "upon the pleadings of record."

         On April 12, 2018, the trial court entered its judgment ("Judgment").[1] The Judgment noted that the case had been submitted by agreement on April 9, 2012 "upon the pleadings of record," and that on the same date, the trial court heard arguments of the parties. The Judgment noted that defendants John Doe and Mary Doe had been duly served with process by posting, and were in default having not appeared. The Judgment then ordered the Landowners to give Vaughn and K.C. Auto a key to permit "the Defendants" access to the Premises for 20 days to remove personal property at "the Defendants' sole expense." After 20 days, the Judgment authorized the Landowners to change the locks, and deemed any remaining personal property in the Premises abandoned, such that the Landowners could dispose of same in their discretion and at their expense.

         The Judgment ordered immediate possession of the Premises to be delivered to the Landowners after "expiration of the time stated herein for Defendants to vacate the premises." Finally, the Judgment found that "[a]ll claims related to the Defendants' occupation of the premises during the period from October 27, 2017 to April 30, 2018 are waived by the parties."

         The Landowners filed this timely appeal.

         Finality ...


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