Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
WILLIAM C. SUEDKAMP and PERSIMMON RIDGE VINEYARDS, LLC, Appellants,
DARREL TAYLOR, MINT PROPERTIES, LLC, and ELIJAH MCARDLE, Respondents, and LISA TAYLOR, Respondent/Cross-Appellant, and JOHN DOE and JANE DOE, Defendants.
from the Circuit Court of Jefferson County 15JE-CC00890
Honorable Troy A. Cardona
M. DOWD, JUDGE
dispute concerns the nature and scope of two roadway
easements that were created long before the parties here came
into possession of the two adjacent parcels in question. In
1982, Paul Ellis, the original owner of all the property
before us, subdivided it, retained the first parcel for
himself, sold the second parcel, and created two roadway
easements that passed from his parcel over the second parcel
to two public roadways on the other side.
Suedkamp became owner of the first parcel in 2010 and he
owned and operated the Persimmon Ridge Vineyards winery on
that property. Respondent/cross-appellant Lisa Taylor
acquired the second parcel over which the easements passed
and her now-ex-husband Darrel Taylor occupied the property
with her. After Appellants brought this suit for damages
arising out of the alleged interference by the Taylors with
their use of the easements, the following summary judgment
motions were filed and heard and the trial court ruled as
trial court granted in part Appellants' motion for
summary judgment finding that the easements were valid and
enforceable appurtenant easements, the court enjoined the
Taylors from any further interference with Appellants'
use of the easements, but the court denied the remainder of
the motion which had sought to establish the scope and
permissible use of the easements and that Appellants were
damaged by the Taylors' conduct with respect to the
easements. As a result, those issues remained for trial.
trial court granted Darrel Taylor's motion for summary
judgment finding that because defendants did not have notice
of the easements, Appellants were not entitled to any damages
as a result of the alleged interference with and damage to
trial court denied Lisa Taylor's motion for summary
Appellants seek review of the trial court's partial
summary judgment that Appellants were not entitled to damages
based on the court's reasoning that Appellants'
failure to demonstrate that defendants had notice of the
easements precluded any award of damages.
Taylor cross-appeals, alleging that (1) the court erred by
not staying the proceedings because she had filed for
bankruptcy; (2) that the court, in granting Appellants'
partial summary judgment, improperly found the existence of
two appurtenant easements; and (3) that the court erred in
ruling against her, following a bench trial, on each of her
counterclaims for common law trespass, abuse of process, and
reverse the trial court's entry of partial summary
judgment to the extent it found that the Taylors did not have
notice of the easements and as a result Appellants were not
entitled to obtain damages due to the Taylors' alleged
obstruction of and interference with the easements. We affirm
the remainder of the trial court's judgment.
Background regarding the property and easements in
parcels involved here were created in 1982 by Paul Ellis when
he subdivided his larger plot into the two parcels before us,
retained one of the parcels, and sold the other. In
connection with that subdivision and sale, Ellis created two
roadway easements over the parcel he sold to allow passage
from his property, over the adjoining parcel, to two public
roadways on the other side. These easements were described in
the general warranty deed employed in connection with the
sale of the second parcel and they were properly recorded.
parcel Ellis retained was transferred various times within
the Ellis family with Mary Clark, Paul Ellis' daughter,
being the last Ellis family member to own it. None of those
transfers specifically mentions the easements. While she
owned the property, Mary Clark and her husband used and
maintained the two easements and at some time before she sold
the property to Appellant Suedkamp, Mary Clark built and
operated the Vineyards winery on the property. In September
2010, Appellant Suedkamp acquired the property from Clark
"together with all rights and appurtenances."
second parcel was also transferred several times by general
warranty deed including the transfer to Lisa Taylor, but the
easements were not identified or described on any of those
deeds either. The last two transfers involve parties before
us as Lisa Taylor obtained title on March 25, 2016, from Mint
Property, LLC,  which had just acquired the property on
September 30, 2015.
Appellant Suedkamp acquired the property, he also acquired
the Vineyards winery. The Vineyards included a tasting room
open to the public, which occasionally presented live music
for up to 80 customers at a time. ...