DiGregorio Food Prods., Inc. v. Racanelli, No. SC 98443

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtZel M. Fischer, Judge
Citation609 S.W.3d 478
Decision Date03 November 2020
Docket NumberNo. SC 98443
Parties DIGREGORIO FOOD PRODUCTS, INC., Respondent, v. John RACANELLI, d/b/a Racanelli's Cucina Pizza Express, Racanelli's Cucina, Racanelli's Delmar, Racanelli's Kirkwood, Racanelli's Fenton, and Racanelli's New York Pizzeria, Appellant.

609 S.W.3d 478

DIGREGORIO FOOD PRODUCTS, INC., Respondent,
v.
John RACANELLI, d/b/a Racanelli's Cucina Pizza Express, Racanelli's Cucina, Racanelli's Delmar, Racanelli's Kirkwood, Racanelli's Fenton, and Racanelli's New York Pizzeria, Appellant.

No. SC 98443

Supreme Court of Missouri, en banc.

Opinion issued November 3, 2020


Racanelli was represented by Peter J. Dunne and Henry F. Luepke of Pitzker Snodgrass PC in St. Louis, (314) 421-5545.

DiGregorio was not represented by counsel and did not argue.

Zel M. Fischer, Judge

609 S.W.3d 479

John Racanelli appeals the circuit court's judgment in favor of DiGregorio Food Products, Inc. Because the underlying action is governed by the five-year statute of limitations set forth in § 516.120(1),1 the circuit court erroneously declared the law when it determined the 10-year statute of limitations contained in § 516.110(1) governed and entered judgment. The circuit court's judgment is hereby reversed and vacated.

Factual Background and Procedural History

John Racanelli operates pizza restaurants in the St. Louis area. DiGregorio Food Products, Inc. is a food manufacturing, retail, and service distribution business. DiGregorio's food service distribution division sells its products to restaurants and grocery stores in the St. Louis area. At some point in the late 1980s or mid-1990s, DiGregorio became an ingredient supplier for Racanelli's pizza restaurants.

The course of business between DiGregorio and Racanelli's restaurants was as follows. A manager from one of Racanelli's restaurants would call DiGregorio and place an order. After receipt of the order, DiGregorio's warehouse employees would gather the requested goods and prepare them for delivery on the following day. The next day, the delivery driver would receive an invoice for the order, load the delivery truck, and transport the goods to the appropriate Racanelli's restaurant. Upon arrival at the restaurant, a Racanelli's manager would sign the invoice and return it to the driver.

Racanelli paid DiGregorio on "seven-day terms," meaning Racanelli would pay for the requested goods at the end of the week and a new delivery would be made the following week. While this arrangement worked for some time, Racanelli began making payments sporadically and then, in 2009 or 2010, failed to make payments altogether. Racanelli's unpaid invoices totaled $44,383.85. DiGregorio contacted Racanelli and his wife and requested they pay for the unpaid invoices; they refused to pay. DiGregorio ended its business relationship with Racanelli and his restaurants.2

On December 5, 2016, DiGregorio filed suit in the circuit court of St. Louis County. The petition pleaded claims for suit on account and account stated. Racanelli moved for summary judgment, arguing both of DiGregorio's causes of action were barred by the five-year statute of limitations contained in § 516.120(1).3 DiGregorio argued its lawsuit was timely because the 10-year statute of limitations contained in § 516.110(1) applied. The circuit court overruled the motion for summary judgment,

609 S.W.3d 480

and the case proceeded to a bench trial.

After trial, the circuit court declared the 10-year statute of limitations applied and concluded Racanelli was responsible for the amount of the unpaid invoices as damages. Additionally, the circuit court noted "it has considered all of Racanelli's defenses, but finds nothing compelling or credible in those defenses." Racanelli appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed in an unpublished opinion, holding the 10-year statute of limitations applied because the signed invoices evidenced a written promise by Racanelli to pay DiGregorio. This Court granted transfer and has jurisdiction. Mo. Const. art. V, § 10.

Standard of Review

Racanelli argues the circuit court erred in concluding § 516.110(1)'s 10-year statute of limitations—as opposed to § 516.120(1)'s five-year statute of limitations—applied to DiGregorio's claims. "The circuit court's judgment will be upheld unless there is no substantial evidence to support it, unless it is against the weight of the evidence, unless it erroneously declares the law, or unless it erroneously applies the law." Karney v. Dep't of Labor & Indus. Relations , 599 S.W.3d 157, 161 (Mo. banc 2020) (internal quotation marks omitted). The applicability of a statute of limitations is a question of law this Court reviews de novo. Bateman v. Platte Cnty. , 363 S.W.3d 39, 42 (Mo. banc 2012).

Analysis

"Missouri has two statutes of limitation relating generally to contract actions: sections 516.110(1) and 516.120[ (1) ]." Hughes Dev. Co. v. Omega Realty Co. , 951 S.W.2d 615, 616 (Mo. banc 1997)...

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4 practice notes
  • City of Carthage v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., 19-05001-CV-SW-WBG
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • 13 Mayo 2022
    ...statutes of limitations relate to contract actions -section 516.110 and section 516.100. See DiGregorio Food Prods., Inc. v. Racanelli, 609 S.W.3d 478, 480 (Mo. banc 2020) (citation omitted). Pursuant to section 516.110(1), “[a]n action upon any writing, whether sealed or unsealed, for the ......
  • Ebert v. Ebert, ED 108195
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 8 Junio 2021
    ...arise, such as whether a statute of limitations applies, without deference to the trial court. DiGregorio Food Prods., Inc. v. Racanelli, 609 S.W.3d 478, 480 (Mo. banc 2020) (internal citation omitted); see also Woodson v. Bank of Am., N.A., 602 S.W.3d 316, 323 (Mo. App. E.D. 2020) (interna......
  • J & M Sec., LLC v. Aziz, ED 109169
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 4 Mayo 2021
    ...is that it is an acknowledgment of an indebtedness, an admission of a debt due and unpaid." DiGregorio Food Prods., Inc. v. Racanelli , 609 S.W.3d 478, 481 (Mo. banc 2020) (alteration in original) (quoting Martin v. Potashnick , 358 Mo. 833, 217 S.W.2d 379, 381 (1949) ). "[T]he promise to p......
  • Holmes v. Mo. Bd. of Prob. & Parole, WD 84325
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 21 Diciembre 2021
    ...The correct application of the statute of limitations is a question of law we review de novo. DiGregorio Food Prods., Inc. v. Racanelli , 609 S.W.3d 478, 480 (Mo. banc 2020). Section 516.145 provides that "all actions brought by an offender ... against the department of corrections or any e......
4 cases
  • City of Carthage v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., 19-05001-CV-SW-WBG
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • 13 Mayo 2022
    ...statutes of limitations relate to contract actions -section 516.110 and section 516.100. See DiGregorio Food Prods., Inc. v. Racanelli, 609 S.W.3d 478, 480 (Mo. banc 2020) (citation omitted). Pursuant to section 516.110(1), “[a]n action upon any writing, whether sealed or unsealed, for the ......
  • Ebert v. Ebert, ED 108195
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 8 Junio 2021
    ...arise, such as whether a statute of limitations applies, without deference to the trial court. DiGregorio Food Prods., Inc. v. Racanelli, 609 S.W.3d 478, 480 (Mo. banc 2020) (internal citation omitted); see also Woodson v. Bank of Am., N.A., 602 S.W.3d 316, 323 (Mo. App. E.D. 2020) (interna......
  • J & M Sec., LLC v. Aziz, ED 109169
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 4 Mayo 2021
    ...is that it is an acknowledgment of an indebtedness, an admission of a debt due and unpaid." DiGregorio Food Prods., Inc. v. Racanelli , 609 S.W.3d 478, 481 (Mo. banc 2020) (alteration in original) (quoting Martin v. Potashnick , 358 Mo. 833, 217 S.W.2d 379, 381 (1949) ). "[T]he promise to p......
  • Holmes v. Mo. Bd. of Prob. & Parole, WD 84325
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 21 Diciembre 2021
    ...The correct application of the statute of limitations is a question of law we review de novo. DiGregorio Food Prods., Inc. v. Racanelli , 609 S.W.3d 478, 480 (Mo. banc 2020). Section 516.145 provides that "all actions brought by an offender ... against the department of corrections or any e......

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