STATE ex rel. AJKJ, INC., Relator,
THE HONORABLE CRAIG E. HELLMANN, Respondent.
PROCEEDING IN PROHIBITION
BRENT POWELL, JUDGE
Inc., seeks a permanent writ of prohibition preventing the
circuit court from continuing to exercise jurisdiction in the
underlying case. The circuit court entered judgment in the
matter but then vacated its judgment after sustaining a
motion to intervene and motion to set aside filed by
non-parties to the underlying action. Because the circuit
court lost jurisdiction in the underlying action 30 days
after entering final judgment, the court lacked jurisdiction
to rule on the motions. The preliminary writ is made
and Procedural Background
Inc., and New Sites, LLC, co-developed the Birch Creek
subdivision in Franklin County. Sometime after the project
began, AJKJ transferred its interest in Birch Creek to New
Sites. New Sites subsequently transferred its interest to
Legends Bank, which then conveyed its interest to Bequette
Construction, Inc. The deed AJKJ conveyed to New Sites failed
to specify the transfer included developer
1, 2018, AJKJ filed a single-count petition against New
Sites, Legends Bank, and Bequette Construction seeking to
reform the deed conveyed to New Sites. AJKJ sought to reform
the deed to specify it did, in fact, transfer developer
rights to New Sites.
defendants filed timely answers, and none filed any
counterclaims or crossclaims. On July 13, 2018, the circuit
court held a bench trial at which the court heard evidence
and took the case under advisement. The circuit court entered
judgment on July 19, 2018, finding AJKJ and New Sites omitted
the phrase "including developer rights" from the
deed by mutual mistake and reforming the deed to specify it
transferred developer rights.
August 14, 2018, Ronald D. Ruff, along with numerous other
residents of the Birch Creek subdivision
("Residents"), filed a motion to intervene and a
motion to set aside the reformation judgment. The circuit
court sustained the motion to intervene and the motion to set
aside on September 13, 2018, vacating the reformation
filed a petition for writ of prohibition in the court of
appeals, which denied the writ petition. AJKJ then petitioned
this Court for a writ of prohibition. This Court issued a
preliminary writ and, after briefing and oral argument, makes
the writ permanent.
and Standard of Review
Court has jurisdiction to issue original remedial writs. Mo.
Const. art. V, § 4. "Prohibition is an original
proceeding brought to confine a lower court to the proper
exercise of its jurisdiction." State ex rel. Bayer
Corp. v. Moriarty, 536 S.W.3d 227, 230 (Mo. banc 2017).
Prohibition is proper to prevent a circuit court from
exceeding its jurisdiction. Id.
sole question in this matter is whether the circuit court
possessed jurisdiction to sustain the motion to intervene and
motion to set aside judgment on September 13, 2018. Pursuant
to Rule 75.01,  AJKJ argues the circuit court lacked
jurisdiction to consider these motions after August 18, 2018
- 30 days following entry of judgment reforming the deed.
circuit court lacked jurisdiction to rule on the ...