Haase v. Richmond

Decision Date11 August 1978
Docket NumberNo. 10365,10365
Citation570 S.W.2d 341
PartiesDonald Lee HAASE, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Linda Miller RICHMOND, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Sam R. Gardner, Almon H. Maus, Monett, for plaintiff-respondent.

J. A. Appelquist, Kerry L. Montgomery, Springfield, for defendant-appellant.



Plaintiff brought suit to specifically enforce the option-to-purchase portion of a 5-year lease which he and defendant-owner executed March 14, 1971. Inter alia, the contract reserved $85 per month rent unto defendant, which plaintiff faithfully paid, and provided that plaintiff "may purchase at any time said property (during the) next 5 years for the purchase price of $22,000." The Circuit Court of Lawrence County obliged plaintiff and defendant appealed. 1

Defendant was a single woman when the contract relating to her farm was signed. She had no dealings with plaintiff prior to execution. All of plaintiff's negotiations had been with defendant's father who did not testify at trial. Defendant and her father drafted the "Lease with Option to Purchase" before it was taken to a notary public for typing. After some handwritten alterations were made, all initialed by defendant, the instrument was duly signed.

In 1965 defendant executed a deed of trust to the farm to secure a $10,500 Veterans' Administration loan; in 1968 she executed a second deed of trust to secure a $2,500 loan from her parents. On the day of trial (November 18, 1975) $8,300 was due the Veterans' Administration; no payments had been made on the parents' note.

Early in July 1974 plaintiff acquired assurance of a $22,000 bank loan to purchase the farm under the option. However, when the banker contacted defendant, she told him "that she wasn't willing to sell (the farm) according to the contract." Plaintiff then consulted a lawyer who, on July 16, 1974, wrote defendant: "(Plaintiff) previously advised you in person, that he was exercising this option to purchase and I now, in writing, formally notify you, on behalf of (plaintiff), that he is exercising this option purchase immediately, for the total purchase price of $22,000.00, in return for which we expect and are entitled to a full Warranty Deed and merchantable title of record to this land, free and clear of all incumbrances. Please send to me a currently certified abstract of the property in question. As soon as the title has been examined and determined to be clear, we will then make arrangements to deliver the $22,000 total, so that all mortgages and incumbrances on the property will first be paid off, and the balance of the purchase price will be delivered to you, upon delivery of said deed."

Under date of August 13, 1974, defendant's lawyer replied: "(Defendant) does not have the same interpretation of the 'instrument' evidenced by your letter in that she maintains that the instrument if enforceable contemplates $22,000.00 net to her." Plaintiff's petition in this cause was filed in 1975 on St. Valentine's Day.

Mislabeled "Points And Authorities," the "Points Relied On" in defendant's brief (Rule 84.04(a) and (b), V.A.M.R.) read: "I The circuit court erred by failure (sic) to find that the notice given by (plaintiff) to (defendant) was insufficient to exercise the option and therefore no valid contract was created between the parties because (plaintiff) injected conditions in the acceptance which rendered it a conditional acceptance. (a) The Circuit Court erred by failure (sic) to find that the option should be strictly construed against the optionee. II The circuit court erred by failure (sic) to find that the contract between the parties should not be specifically enforced for the reason that enforcement of the terms of the contract created a hardship and produced an unjust result upon (defendant). (a) The circuit court erred in finding that the fairness of the contract should be determined based upon the value of the property on the date the option was granted as opposed to the value of the property on the date the option was exercised."

Initially we note that this court is not obliged to seek through the transcript on appeal, the statement of facts nor the argument portion of an appellant's brief to ascertain the intended meaning of points relied on. The "points relied on" in an appellant's brief should be written understandably and self-sufficiently without need to resort to the transcript or other portions of the brief to come by an understanding of their meaning. Barber v. M. F. A. Milling Co., 536 S.W.2d 208, 209-210(4) (Mo.App.1976); Rule 84.04(d), V.A.M.R. No appellate court should stand as an advocate to ferret out possible trial court errors (Speicher v. Dunn, 530 S.W.2d 45, 46(2) (Mo.App.1975)) and should confine its efforts solely to points briefed in compliance with the rules of appellate procedure (Brown v. Wilkinson, 495 S.W.2d 678, 681(5) (Mo.App.1973)), which are mandatorily applied in review of court-tried cases with the same force as in the review of jury-tried matters. M & A Electric Power Cooperative v. Nesselrodt, 509 S.W.2d 468, 470(1) (Mo.App.1974); Freshour v. Schuerenberg, 495 S.W.2d 116, 118(8) (Mo.App.1973).

Point I leaves us to guess and conjecture "wherein and why" the trial court allegedly erred in failing to find that plaintiff's notice (whichever one that may have been Lusco v. Tavitian, 296 S.W.2d 14, 16(4) (Mo.1956)) was insufficient because plaintiff injected conditions (whatever they may have been) that rendered plaintiff's acceptance conditional. Simply asserting what averred errors are without also stating wherein and why they are errors neither complies with Rule 84.04(d), V.A.M.R., nor preserves anything for appellate review. State ex rel. State Highway Comm'n v. Heim, 483 S.W.2d 410, 415(17) (Mo.App.1972). Nonetheless, in excess of appellate duty, from the argument portion of defendant's brief we learn her contention is aimed at the July 16, 1974, acceptance letter of plaintiff's counsel, supra. Defendant contends that the letter unwarrantedly required the furnishing of a full "Warranty Deed and merchantable title of record . . . free and clear of all incumbrances." We do not agree with...

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16 cases
  • Link's Estate v. Wirtz
    • United States
    • Kansas Court of Appeals
    • January 14, 1982
    ...63 (1925); 81 C.J.S. Specific Performance § 47 p. 824; 71 Am.Jur.2d, Specific Performance § 81; 11 A.L.R.2d at 397. See Haase v. Richmond, 570 S.W.2d 341 (Mo.App.1978), applying these two rules to specifically enforce a lease purchase option. Kansas cases, however, recognize that a court of......
  • McClelland v. Williamson
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • January 4, 1982
    ...guess. We have no duty to seek beyond the points relied on to ascertain the whereins and whys of claimed errors. Haase v. Richmond, 570 S.W.2d 341, 343-344(1) (Mo.App.1978). Shotgun conclusions that a judgment is not supported by the evidence and is against the weight or the overwhelming we......
  • Smith v. Hammons
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • January 3, 2002
    ...as well as jury-tried matters." Kurtz v. Fischer, 600 S.W.2d 642, 645 (Mo. App. W.D. 1980) (citing Rule 84.04(d); Haase v. Richmond, 570 S.W.2d 341, 344 (Mo. App. 1978)). Thus limited, the only question for review on this appeal is the issue presented in Plaintiff's brief. Id.; see also In ......
  • Fujita v. Jeffries, 50578
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • July 29, 1986
    ...of facts nor the argument portion of an appellant's brief, to ascertain the intended meaning of the points relied on. Haase v. Richmond, 570 S.W.2d 341, 344 (Mo.App.1978). Rule Under Rule 84.08, we excuse Fujita's failure to state in his points relied, the issues we are to consider. We will......
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