Finnegan v. Old Republic Title Co., No. SC 88761.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtMary R. Russell
Citation246 S.W.3d 928
PartiesJames A. FINNEGAN, Appellant, v. OLD REPUBLIC TITLE CO. OF ST. LOUIS, INC., Respondent. Lisa L. Rokusek and Jennifer Human, Appellants, v. Security Title Insurance Company and Security Title Insurance Agency, Respondents. Lisa L. Rokusek and Jennifer Human, Appellants, v. Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. SC 88762.,No. SC 88761.,No. SC 88763.
Decision Date18 March 2008
246 S.W.3d 928
James A. FINNEGAN, Appellant,
v.
OLD REPUBLIC TITLE CO. OF ST. LOUIS, INC., Respondent.
Lisa L. Rokusek and Jennifer Human, Appellants,
v.
Security Title Insurance Company and Security Title Insurance Agency, Respondents.
Lisa L. Rokusek and Jennifer Human, Appellants,
v.
Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company, Respondent.
No. SC 88761.
No. SC 88762.
No. SC 88763.
Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc.
March 18, 2008.

Fernando Bermudez, Clayton, for Appellee.

Christopher O. Bauman, Robert D. Blitz, Clayton, for Respondent.

MARY R. RUSSELL, Judge.


These cases present the issue of whether section 486.350, RSMo Supp.2007,1 requires

246 S.W.3d 929

a notary public to both notarize a signature and record that act in a notary journal before charging a $2 fee.

Plaintiffs2 appeal after judgment was entered against them on their claims against three title companies3 (collectively "Defendants") for alleged overcharges of notary public fees under section 486.350. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to Mo. CONST. art. V sec. 10, as these cases were transferred after dispositions by the court of appeals. This Court reverses, and the causes are remanded.

A. Background

Section 486.350 sets the maximum fees that can be charged by notaries public. In relevant part, it states:

1. The maximum fee in this state for notarization of each signature and the proper recording thereof in the journal of notarial acts is two dollars for each signature notarized.

. . . .

3. The maximum fee in this state is one dollar for any other notarial act performed.

. . . .

5. A notary public who charges more than the maximum fee specified . . . is guilty of official misconduct.

. . . .

Sec. 486.350 (emphasis added).

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants, through their notary employees, violated section 486.350.1.4 They contend that they were overcharged for notary services provided in connection with real estate closings because the notaries did not record in their notary journals the notarizations for which Plaintiffs were charged.5 Plaintiffs' real estate transactions were unaffected by the notaries' failures to record the notarizations in their notary journals, but Plaintiffs contend that they are entitled to return of the monies they were improperly charged for the unrecorded notarizations. They argue that the violations of section 486.350 resulted in unjust enrichment for the title companies. They also allege that the overcharges were violations of the Missouri merchandising practices act (MMPA) because they were a "deception" and "unfair practice."

246 S.W.3d 930

Defendants moved for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' claims, and judgments were entered in their favor.6 Plaintiffs appeal.

B. Standard of Review

Appellate review of summary judgment is de novo. ITT Commercial Fin. Corp. v. Mid-Am. Marine Supply Corp., 854 S.W.2d 371, 376 (Mo. banc 1993). Summary judgment is appropriate where the moving party has demonstrated, on the basis of facts as to which there is no genuine dispute, a right to judgment as a matter of law. Id.

C. Requirements of Section 486.350

Plaintiffs maintain that the trial courts' judgments were in error because, under the plain language of section 486.350.1, the title companies' notaries were not entitled to collect a $2 fee unless they (1) notarized a signature and (2) properly recorded the notarial act in their notary journal.

Statutory interpretation is an issue of law that this Court...

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28 practice notes
  • State v. Smith, No. SC 97811
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 14 Enero 2020
    ...interpretation, which is a question of law that is also reviewed de novo. Finnegan v. Old Republic Title Co. of St. Louis, Inc. , 246 S.W.3d 928, 930 (Mo. banc 2008). Where, as here, the circuit court does not issue findings of fact when ruling on a motion to suppress, this Court "cons......
  • New Life Evangelistic Ctr. v. City of St. Louis, No. ED 105737
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 25 Septiembre 2018
    ...of the legislature from the language used and to give effect to that intent. Finnegan v. Old Republic Title Co. of St. Louis, Inc., 246 S.W.3d 928, 930 (Mo. banc 2008) ; Spradling v. SSM Health Care St. Louis, 313 S.W.3d 683, 686 (Mo. banc 2010). "When the plain language of the statute......
  • Sarcoxie Nursery Cultivation Ctr., LLC v. Williams, WD 84492
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 3 Mayo 2022
    ...regulatory, and constitutional interpretation are issues of law reviewed de novo. Finnegan v. Old Republic Title Co. of St. Louis, Inc. , 246 S.W.3d 928, 930 (Mo. 2008) ; Blankenship v. Franklin Cnty. Collector , 619 S.W.3d 491, 501 (Mo. App. E.D. 2021) (quoting St. Louis Police Leadership ......
  • Jefferson v. Mo. Baptist Med. Ctr., No. ED 99895.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • 19 Agosto 2014
    ...“[s]tatutory interpretation is an issue of law that this Court reviews de novo.” Finnegan v. Old Republic Title Co. of St. Louis, Inc., 246 S.W.3d 928, 930 (Mo. banc 2008).IV. DISCUSSIONSection 538.210(3) bars the Jeffersons from recovering against MBMC for the tortious actions of Dr. Moshe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • State v. Smith, No. SC 97811
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 14 Enero 2020
    ...interpretation, which is a question of law that is also reviewed de novo. Finnegan v. Old Republic Title Co. of St. Louis, Inc. , 246 S.W.3d 928, 930 (Mo. banc 2008). Where, as here, the circuit court does not issue findings of fact when ruling on a motion to suppress, this Court "considers......
  • New Life Evangelistic Ctr. v. City of St. Louis, No. ED 105737
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 25 Septiembre 2018
    ...of the legislature from the language used and to give effect to that intent. Finnegan v. Old Republic Title Co. of St. Louis, Inc., 246 S.W.3d 928, 930 (Mo. banc 2008) ; Spradling v. SSM Health Care St. Louis, 313 S.W.3d 683, 686 (Mo. banc 2010). "When the plain language of the statute is c......
  • Jefferson v. Mo. Baptist Med. Ctr., No. ED 99895.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • 19 Agosto 2014
    ...“[s]tatutory interpretation is an issue of law that this Court reviews de novo.” Finnegan v. Old Republic Title Co. of St. Louis, Inc., 246 S.W.3d 928, 930 (Mo. banc 2008).IV. DISCUSSIONSection 538.210(3) bars the Jeffersons from recovering against MBMC for the tortious actions of Dr. Moshe......
  • Collin v. Mo. Baptist Med. Ctr. & Amy Mosher, M.D. & Midwest Radiological Assocs., P.C., No. ED99895
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 19 Agosto 2014
    ..."[s]tatutory interpretation is an issue of law that this Court reviews de novo." Finnegan v. Old Republic Title Co. of St. Louis, Inc., 246 S.W.3d 928, 930 (Mo. banc 2008).IV. DISCUSSION Section 538.210(3) bars the Jeffersons from recovering against MBMC for the tortious actions of Dr. Mosh......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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