Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF PHELPS COUNTY Honorable Ronald D.
White, Associate Circuit Judge.
JEFFREY W. BATES, J.
mechanic, Todd Busque (Mechanic), obtained a judgment in
small claims court against a truck owner, Halston Heck
(Owner), in the amount of $4, 044.45 for repairs Mechanic
made to Owner's truck. Owner requested a trial de
novo and also filed a counterclaim based on, inter
alia, the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act (MMWA). The trial
court found in favor of Mechanic on his claim for breach of
contract, against Owner on his counterclaim, and entered
judgment in Mechanic's favor for the cost of repairs.
presents two points for decision. He contends the trial court
erred in entering judgment against Owner: (1) on his
"MMWA counterclaim because an implied warranty attached
by operation of law"; and (2) on the "breach of
contract claim because the statute of frauds rendered the
oral agreement unenforceable, in that it was not made in
writing and was for the sale of goods" for more than
$500. Finding no merit in either contention, we affirm.
judgment is presumed correct, and the party challenging the
judgment bears the burden of proving it erroneous. Denny
v. Regions Bank, 527 S.W.3d 920, 924-25 (Mo. App. 2017).
In this court-tried case, our review is governed by Rule
84.13(d) and Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30 (Mo.
banc 1976), which requires this Court to affirm the trial
court's judgment unless it is not supported by
substantial evidence, is against the weight of the evidence,
or erroneously declares or applies the law. Murphy,
536 S.W.2d at 32. "We review issues of law de
novo." Denny, 527 S.W.3d at 925. We defer
to the trial court's credibility determinations.
Metzger v. Franklin, 496 S.W.3d 547, 549 (Mo. App.
2016). "The trial court is free to believe all, none, or
part of the testimony of any witness." Id.;
see Archdekin v. Archdekin, 562 S.W.3d 298, 310 (Mo.
banc 2018). All evidence and reasonable inferences therefrom
are viewed in the light most favorable to the trial
court's judgment, and all evidence and inferences to the
contrary are disregarded. Landewee v. Landewee, 515
S.W.3d 691, 694 (Mo. banc 2017). So viewed, the following
facts were adduced at trial.
28, 2015, Owner contacted Mechanic about repairing
Owner's 2002 Ford F-350 truck (Truck), with over 300, 000
miles on it. After Owner delivered his Truck to
Mechanic's shop, Mechanic determined the Truck had a
transmission problem. The parties entered into an oral
agreement for Mechanic to: (1) repair the Truck's
transmission; and (2) upgrade the transmission by installing
a performance shift kit. Mechanic then removed the
transmission and sent it to be rebuilt by another mechanic
who specialized in transmission rebuilds. Mechanic also
obtained a shift kit from the same mechanic.
Mechanic installed the rebuilt transmission and shift kit, he
discovered that the starter, batteries and air filter also
were in need of repair. Owner authorized the repair of these
items, and Mechanic did so. Prior to completing these
repairs, no mention was made of any necessary repairs to the
Truck's rear end. After all of the authorized repairs
were made, Mechanic contacted Owner and told him to pick up
came to Mechanic's shop to retrieve the Truck and was
informed that the total bill was $4, 044.45. Owner attempted
to pay with a credit card, but Mechanic did not have the
capability to process credit cards. Owner informed Mechanic
that he would have to go to the bank and return with money to
pay the bill. Owner then test drove the Truck with Mechanic.
After the test drive, Owner said he would meet Mechanic with
a check for the repairs and left the shop with the Truck.
Owner drove the Truck to town. Owner never returned or paid
point after Owner took the Truck, the "rear end seized
up" and the rear wheels stopping rolling. Mechanic
testified that: (1) the rear-end problems were unrelated to
the transmission repair; and (2) a vehicle's rear end
could fail any time, especially after lots of wear on a truck
with over 300, 000 miles on it. Mechanic also testified that he
provides a warranty for his own work and "would do
whatever it takes" to fix any issue related to his
repairs. Because he repaired the transmission, his warranty
extended only to the transmission repairs and not to the
issues with the rear end.
hearing all the evidence, the trial court found in favor of
Mechanic. The court found the rear-end issues were unrelated
to the transmission repairs performed by Mechanic. Therefore,
the court decided that Mechanic was entitled to recover his
fee for repairing the transmission. The court also found that
"[w]ith regard to the contested factual issues, the
Court finds the testimony of [Mechanic] credible and, to the
extent [Owner] disagreed with [Mechanic], the Court finds
[Owner's] testimony to not be credible." The court
explained its credibility determinations in the judgment:
[Owner] did not request [Mechanic] perform any work on the
rear end of the truck and [Mechanic] did no work to the rear
end. None of the work performed by [Mechanic] involved the
rear end of [the Truck] nor did it have any effect on the
rear end of [the Truck]. There was no credible evidence that
any action by [Mechanic] caused damage to the rear end of
[the Truck]. [Owner] has failed and refused to pay [Mechanic]
for work completed on [the Truck].
There was a valid contract between the parties for the work
performed by [Mechanic] on [the Truck]. [Mechanic] performed
all of his obligations under the verbal contract and
performed no work not authorized by [Owner]. [Mechanic] fully
performed his obligations under the oral contract….
The cost of repairs were comparable to the quote that [Owner]
received from the Ford dealer. [Owner] received multiple
quotes from dealers to fix the transmission and at least one
dealer looked the truck over and said that the transmission
was the issue. The prices charged by [Mechanic] were
The work performed by [Mechanic] was performed in accordance
with the authorization he received from [Owner] and was
performed in a workmanlike manner…. There was no
credible evidence presented that any of the work performed by