Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF CLAY COUNTY, MISSOURI THE HONORABLE
LARRY D. HARMAN, JUDGE.
Before: Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Presiding Judge, Alok Ahuja,
Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge.
R. ARDINI, JR., JUDGE.
City of North Kansas City, Missouri (NKC) filed suit in the
Circuit Court of Clay County against Gary Tauvar and
Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (ADM) alleging public nuisance
and negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment in
favor of ADM finding that (1) ADM was not, as a former owner
of the property in question, liable for any nuisance because
Tauvar knew the condition of the property when he purchased
it; and (2) NKC's claims were barred by the applicable
statutes of limitations. NKC appeals. Finding no error, we
Factual and Procedural Background
owned property located at 1400 Nodaway in North Kansas City,
Missouri. This property contained a grain elevator and was
surrounded by operating railroad tracks owned by Norfolk
Southern Railway. In 2002, ADM sold the property by quit
claim deed for $1.00 to Tauvar. The property was not being
used as a functioning grain elevator when ADM sold it to
Notice of Abatement
completed an inspection of the property on October 28, 2003.
The inspection was conducted by NKC's senior building
code inspector and was in response to a complaint that
salvage material was being dumped on the property.
after the inspection, NKC sent Tauvar a notice of abatement
stating that "the above-mentioned structure has been
found to be unsafe." It further stated that the
structure was "dangerous to life, property and safety of
the public." The notice did not specifically identify
the referenced structure; instead, the subject of the notice
was "Property located on E. 14th (unsafe
structure)." The notice listed a number of dangerous
conditions, required Tauvar to close and secure the structure
within ten days, and required him to submit a plan to NKC
within 30 days to repair or demolish the structure. The city
posted the notice of abatement and a notice of condemnation
on the property.
weeks later, officials from NKC again inspected the property.
A few days after this inspection, NKC's senior building
code inspector sent a memo to NKC's chief of police
stating, in part, as follows:
The property has been placarded by NKC Code Enforcement as
"CONDEMNED" Unsafe For Occupancy. This is due to
structural alterations made to one of the metal silos without
obtaining a building permit and the generally dilapidated
condition of all of the structures on the property. No person
should be allowed to enter any of the buildings on the
property, as this is a code violation.
following week, NKC cited Tauvar for failing to comply with
the previously issued notice of abatement. NKC also generated
several reports documenting the condition of the property,
including that the notice of abatement "gave Mr. Tauvar
10 days to have the structures closed and secured[, ]"
but "it is evident that Mr. Tauvar is still dumping and
occupying this property and has failed to close or secure the
Notice of Abatement
2004, NKC performed another inspection of the property. The
following month, Tauvar applied for a permit "to provide
structural support to opening in metal grain bin and to
repear [sic] openings/support to effect drive thru." NKC
denied Tauvar's permit application.
September 2004, an additional inspection was performed by the
city resulting in a second abatement notice being sent to
Tauvar. This abatement notice declared the property a
nuisance based on "numerous safety violations." The
abatement notice also ordered Tauvar to take action within
ten days to correct the violations, including that
"[s]tructures and property shall be maintained in good
repair, structurally sound and sanitary so as not to pose a
threat to the public[, ]" and "[a]ccess to all
structures and property must be secured."
attempted to resolve some of the violations found by NKC by
hiring a contractor to demolish metal silos and by obtaining
a razing permit from NKC. However, the demolition produced an
even more dangerous condition for the neighboring railroad
prompting NKC to revoke the razing permit and render the
structure safe at its own expense.
Notice of Abatement
early part of 2005, NKC twice inspected the property. A third
notice of abatement was issued by NKC in the summer of that
year. This notice of abatement found "the property to be
in violation of the City Code and hereby declared a
nuisance." The notice again listed numerous violations
and stated that "[s]tructures and property shall be
maintained in good repair, structurally sound and sanitary so
as not to pose a threat to the public." The notice
warned that "[f]ailure to bring [the] property in to
[sic] compliance with the code will result in legal
action." In August 2005, Tauvar indicated to NKC that he
was in the process of removing materials that were located on
the property and that, after those materials were removed, he
would begin "demolition of facilities." No
facilities were demolished.