Property Law

Editor:
Robert N. Faulkner, Esquire 

Municipalities, school districts and other public corporations not limited to quo warranto action by Attorney General or local prosecuting attorney and may bring a declaratory action to determine a boundary dispute with another municipality, school district or other public corporation.City of Lake Saint Louis, Missouri v. City of O'Fallon, Missouri, No. 90790 (Mo. banc, October 26, 2010), Smith, J.
The city of Lake Saint Louis filed a petition for declaratory judgment to obtain a determination that certain property within its boundaries was not annexed by the city of O'Fallon after its attempted annexation. The city of O'Fallon filed a motion to dismiss on the basis that Lake Saint Louis had no authority to seek recovery under a declaratory judgment, but must instead rely on a quo warranto action filed by the Attorney General or St. Charles County prosecuting attorney. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss. Lake Saint Louis appealed, arguing that only individuals must rely on the quo warranto action in disputes against cities, school districts or other public corporations, but municipalities have the right to seek declaratory judgment on a dispute of property against another city or public corporation. The Court agreed and stated that "while individuals are not authorized to bring a declaratory judgment action to determine a boundary dispute as to a municipality, this limitation does not apply to a suit brought by the affected municipality, school district or other public corporation itself."
Held: Reversed. Trial court judgment is reversed and the case is remanded.

Scope of entry based on implied consent to trespass is limited; erection of a fence held to exceed scope of implied consent. Grossman, et ux. v. St. John, et ux., No. 71882 (Mo. App. W.D., November 2, 2010), Ellis, J.
Jerald and Jilana Grossman (the "Grossmans") were the owners of residential property that backed to Steve and Vicki St. John (the "St. Johns"). The Grossmans had a fence on their property. There was approximately 9 feet of land between the Grossmans' fence and the property line between the Grossmans and the St. Johns. Beginning in 2004, the St. Johns began to treat the 9 foot strip of land as their own without permission or objection from the Grossmans. The St. Johns eventually erected a fence on the 9 foot strip owned by the Grossmans. The Grossmans sued for trespass. The trial court entered judgment for the St. Johns and the Grossmans appealed. The St. Johns argued that they had the implied consent to enter the 9 foot strip since the Grossmans knew of their entry and never requested them to not enter. The court agreed, but then stated that implied consent also contains within it a scope of entry and the erection of a fence exceeds the scope of the implied consent.
Held: Reversed and remanded.

The Missouri Bar Courts Bulletin, 11-Apr