Fort Osage Drainage Dist. of Jackson County v. Jackson County, No. 44270

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtHilary A. Bush, Kansas City; PER CURIAM
Citation275 S.W.2d 326
PartiesFORT OSAGE DRAINAGE DISTRICT OF JACKSON COUNTY, Missouri, Appellant, v. JACKSON COUNTY, Missouri, Respondent
Decision Date14 February 1955
Docket NumberNo. 1,No. 44270

Page 326

275 S.W.2d 326
FORT OSAGE DRAINAGE DISTRICT OF JACKSON COUNTY, Missouri, Appellant,
v.
JACKSON COUNTY, Missouri, Respondent.
No. 44270.
Supreme Court of Missouri, Division No. 1.
Feb. 14, 1955.

Page 327

William R. Moore, Walter A. Raymond, Kansas City, for appellant.

Hilary A. Bush, Kansas City, J. Marcus Kirtley, Independence, for respondent. Rufus Burrus, Independence, of counsel.

VAN OSDOL, Commissioner.

This is an action instituted June 26, 1950, by Fort Osage Drainage District of Jackson County (organized under statutes now Section 242.010 et seq. RSMo 1949, V.A.M.S.), plaintiff, against Jackson County, defendant, to collect a maintenance tax levied against assessed benefits to defendant

Page 328

County's public highways within the confines of the district. The action was brought for the amount of the tax, $2,000, penalty, costs and attorney's fee. Defendant County by answer alleged the levy was illegal and void because the tax, it was alleged, was not levied by a legally constituted taxing authority and in manner required by law. The trial court found for defendant and dismissed plaintiff's petition. Plaintiff has appealed.

This court has appellate jurisdiction of the case on the ground that defendant, a county, is a party. Fort Osage Drainage Dist. of Jackson County v. Jackson County, Mo.App., 264 S.W.2d 792; Const., Art. V, Section 3, V.A.M.S.

At the conclusion of the trial of the cause, the parties requested findings of fact and conclusions of law.

The trial court gave Conclusions of Law Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4 at the request of plaintiff, as follows,

'1. The Court has jurisdiction of the subject matter and of the parties. 2. The assessment sued for in this suit was not four years or more delinquent at the time of the institution of this suit nor at the time of the trial and the Land Tax Collection Act (Sections 141.210 to 141.810, RSMo 1949, V.A.M.S.) is therefore not applicable. 3. Defendant * * * is not subject to suit under the Land Tax Collection Act. 4. The suit was properly brought in the name of the Fort Osage Drainage District as provided by Sections 245.220 and 245.225, RSMo 1949, V.A.M.S., and is legally pending in this Court for disposition on the merits.'

The trial court gave Conclusions of Law, submitted by defendant, as follows,

'3. That the purported Board of Supervisors acting on and after 1st September, 1949 was not a lawfully constituted taxing authority, which could levy a valid and lawful tax. 4. That the purported Board of Supervisors acting on and after 27th day of January, 1950, were not legally and lawfully elected, and that the election purportedly held January 25, 1950 was null and void and of no force or effect. 5. That the suit here pending was not instituted at the instance and direction of a legally constituted authority. 6. That the petition in this suit ought to be and is hereby dismissed, at the cost of plaintiff.'

Plaintiff-appellant contends the members of the board of supervisors, who were acting in making the levy and who were acting in directing the institution of this action, were de jure officers or, in any event, they were officers de facto. Plaintiff-appellant asserts that introduction of the tax bill into evidence made out a prima facie case for plaintiff; that the tax bill was prima facie evidence of the validity of the tax; and that defendant did not sustain the burden of proving invalidity. Plaintiff-appellant also says defendant's answer alleging the invalidity of the tax levy in this action to recover judgment for the tax constitutes a collateral attack. Defendant-respondent County, on the other hand, contends that its defense is permissible and does not constitute a collateral attack but is a direct attack made at the first opportunity and by the only method provided by law; and that the tax levy was void because made by usurpers or interlopers. Defendant-respondent also asserts the action has not been brought by a proper party plaintiff--it is said the action should have been brought in the name of the County Collector under the Land Tax Collection Law, Section 141.210, et seq. RSMo 1949, V.A.M.S.

In this action at law tried without the services of a jury, we review the case upon both the law and the evidence as in actions of an equitable nature, even though the trial court at the parties' request made findings of fact and gave conclusions of law. Faire v. Burke, 363 Mo. 562, 252 S.W.2d 289; Pudiwitr v. Soloman, Mo.App., 224 S.W.2d 562; Section 510.310 RSMo 1949, V.A.M.S. In this case the evidence was largely documentary, and there was no conflict in the verbal evidence introduced which

Page 329

would require our due regard for the better opportunity of the trial court to judge the credibility of the witnesses.

A drainage district is a public corporation. It is not a municipal corporation in the restricted sense of the term. Its purpose is to exercise governmental functions. Although, the courts must follow the provisions of the statutes governing drainage districts, these statutes are "declared to be remedial in character and purpose, and shall be liberally construed by the courts in carrying out this legislative intent and purpose." Graves v. Little Tarkio Drainage Dist. No. 1, 345 Mo. 557, 134 S.W.2d 70, 76; Section 242.690 RSMo 1949, V.A.M.S.

Plaintiff District had the statutory power to levy the tax in...

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9 practice notes
  • State ex rel. Hand v. Bilyeu, R-1
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 4 d2 Abril d2 1961
    ...Mo.App. 388, 402; Perkins v. Fielding, 119 Mo. 149, 24 S.W. 444, 446; Fort Osage Drainage Dist. of Jackson County v. Jackson County, Mo., 275 S.W.2d 326, 22 15 C.J.S. Color of law, p. 235; Black's Law Dictionary, 4th ed., p. 331. 23 43 Am.Jur., Public Officers, Sec. 480, p. 233. However, th......
  • Grapette Co. v. Grapette Bottling Co., No. 7383
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 11 d3 Janeiro d3 1956
    ...the law and the evidence as in actions of an equitable nature. Fort Osage Drainage District of Jackson County v. Jackson County, Mo., 275 S.W.2d 326, 328(2); Faire v. Burke, 363 Mo. 562, 252 S.W.2d 289, 290(1); Pudiwitr v. Soloman, Mo.App., 224 S.W.2d 562, 567(2, Furthermore, defendants are......
  • Page v. Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer Dist., No. 50104
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 13 d1 Abril d1 1964
    ...sense in which cities, towns and villages are so considered. Fort Osage Drainage Dist. of Jackson County v. Jackson County, Mo.Sup., 275 S.W.2d 326, 329; Cullor v. Jackson Township, Mo.Sup., 249 Page 353 S.W.2d 393, 396; Hausgen v. Elsberry Drainage Dist., Mo.App., 245 S.W. 401, 404. Cities......
  • Boggess v. Pence, Nos. 46953
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 9 d1 Março d1 1959
    ...City of Republic v. Smith, 345 Mo. 1158, 139 S.W.2d 929, 933(5-10); Fort Osage Drainage Dist. of Jackson Co. v. Jackson Co., Mo.Sup., 275 S.W.2d 326, 331; State ex rel. City of Clarence v. Page 672 Drain, supra, 73 S.W.2d 804, 805; Perkins v. Fielding, 119 Mo. 149, 24 S.W. 444, 446; Wilson ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • State ex rel. Hand v. Bilyeu, R-1
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 4 d2 Abril d2 1961
    ...Mo.App. 388, 402; Perkins v. Fielding, 119 Mo. 149, 24 S.W. 444, 446; Fort Osage Drainage Dist. of Jackson County v. Jackson County, Mo., 275 S.W.2d 326, 22 15 C.J.S. Color of law, p. 235; Black's Law Dictionary, 4th ed., p. 331. 23 43 Am.Jur., Public Officers, Sec. 480, p. 233. However, th......
  • Grapette Co. v. Grapette Bottling Co., No. 7383
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 11 d3 Janeiro d3 1956
    ...the law and the evidence as in actions of an equitable nature. Fort Osage Drainage District of Jackson County v. Jackson County, Mo., 275 S.W.2d 326, 328(2); Faire v. Burke, 363 Mo. 562, 252 S.W.2d 289, 290(1); Pudiwitr v. Soloman, Mo.App., 224 S.W.2d 562, 567(2, Furthermore, defendants are......
  • Page v. Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer Dist., No. 50104
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 13 d1 Abril d1 1964
    ...sense in which cities, towns and villages are so considered. Fort Osage Drainage Dist. of Jackson County v. Jackson County, Mo.Sup., 275 S.W.2d 326, 329; Cullor v. Jackson Township, Mo.Sup., 249 Page 353 S.W.2d 393, 396; Hausgen v. Elsberry Drainage Dist., Mo.App., 245 S.W. 401, 404. Cities......
  • Boggess v. Pence, Nos. 46953
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 9 d1 Março d1 1959
    ...City of Republic v. Smith, 345 Mo. 1158, 139 S.W.2d 929, 933(5-10); Fort Osage Drainage Dist. of Jackson Co. v. Jackson Co., Mo.Sup., 275 S.W.2d 326, 331; State ex rel. City of Clarence v. Page 672 Drain, supra, 73 S.W.2d 804, 805; Perkins v. Fielding, 119 Mo. 149, 24 S.W. 444, 446; Wilson ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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