Karney v. Wohl

Decision Date23 January 1990
Docket NumberNo. 56095,56095
Citation785 S.W.2d 630
PartiesElaine Suzie KARNEY, Appellant, v. Mark and Robert WOHL, Respondent.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Sanford Goffstein, Weiss, Goffstein, Kraus, St. Louis, for appellant.

G. William Weier, Carol Bader, Weier, Hockensmith & Sherby, St. Louis, for respondent.

HAMILTON, Presiding Judge.

Appellant Elaine Suzie Karney (hereinafter Wife) filed a three count petition against Respondents, her former husband Mark Wohl (hereinafter Husband) and his father Robert Wohl (hereinafter Father). In Count I she sought to set aside and rescind the Settlement Agreement, executed on November 25, 1981, with respect to the division of marital property, which had been incorporated into the Dissolution Decree of Wife and Husband entered January 4, 1982. In Counts II and III, Wife sought actual and punitive damages for fraudulent misrepresentations made by Husband to Wife and for conspiracy to defraud Wife by Husband and Father.

The trial court sustained Respondents' motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case without prejudice. Wife appealed. We dismissed the appeal without prejudice, finding the trial court's order was not final because the trial court had dismissed the case without prejudice. Karney v. Wohl, 747 S.W.2d 214 (Mo.App.1988). Thereafter, the parties filed additional affidavits with the trial court and, on December 9, 1988, that court by memorandum order sustained Respondents' amended motion for summary judgment. This appeal followed. We reverse.

The record discloses that the marriage of Wife and Husband was dissolved on January 4, 1982. On July 10, 1981, during discovery in the dissolution action, Husband testified in deposition that he had transferred his stock in Premium Associates, Ltd., to his father Robert J. Wohl for $17 on February 18, 1980, and that he then owned no stock in that company. He further testified that $17 was the original purchase price of the stock and that his father had required him to transfer the stock as a condition of his re-employment with Premium Associates, Ltd. Moreover, Husband stated that he had no idea of the value of the stock when he surrendered it and was unaware that it had substantial value at that time.

During the dissolution proceeding, Husband also produced copies of stock certificates numbered 38, 39, and 41. He claimed that these certificates represented the stock he surrendered to Premium Associates, Ltd., on February 18, 1980: stock certificate number 38, representing 50,000 shares, issued to Mark R. Wohl on June 30, 1975; stock certificate number 39, representing 50,000 shares, issued to Mark R. Wohl on June 30, 1975; and stock certificate 41, representing 37,716 2/3 shares, issued to Mark R. Wohl on June 30, 1975.

On November 25, 1981, Husband and Wife entered into a settlement agreement that is reflected in the record. That agreement contained no specific reference to any ownership in Premium Associates, Ltd. It did state, however, that

[e]ach of the parties hereby represents and warrants to the other party (a) that all separate property of the parties of which such party has knowledge has been disclosed and has been set aside to said party in this Settlement Agreement; (b) that all marital property of the parties of which such party has knowledge has been disclosed and is reflected in this Settlement Agreement; and (c) that all of their marital property has been divided by virtue of this Settlement Agreement; and (d) that no further orders regarding property need be entered by this Court.

The Settlement Agreement was incorporated into the Dissolution of Marriage Decree.

The record before us also contains corporate income tax returns for Premium Associates, Ltd., for the years 1977 through 1982. These returns show that Husband owned 27.06 percent of the company's stock in 1977 and 26.66 percent of its stock during the years 1978 through 1982.

In addition, on September 15, 1980, Husband executed a personal financial statement in which he represented and warranted to Landmark Bank that the information provided was true and correct. In the statement, Husband represented that, as of September 12, 1980, he owned forty percent interest in Premium Associates which he valued at $200,000.

In a separate legal proceeding in St. Louis County Circuit Court, in which Husband and Father were defendants, 1 Father testified that he and Husband each owned forty percent of the stock of Premium Associates, Ltd., and that a forty percent interest was valued at $200,000. Father also admitted that he purchased his son's stock in the company for $17 just before his son "had his first separation from his wife."

In an affidavit submitted to the trial court in the instant action, Father stated that Husband and Wife separated at the end of 1979. He further stated that, in the latter part of February, 1980, he purchased Husband's stock for $17.

Pursuant to a document request filed by Wife in the present case, Husband produced the stock certificates of Premium Associates, Ltd. Among those produced were certificates numbered 38, 39, and 41. Certificate number 38, representing 12,500 shares was issued on November 2, 1977, to Robert J. Wohl who surrendered it on January 3, 1978. Following cancellation of certificate number 38, a new certificate number 43, representing 12,500 shares, was issued to Harold Glaser. Certificate number 39, representing 12,500 shares was issued on November 2, 1977, to Robert J. Wohl who surrendered it on January 2, 1978. Following cancellation of certificate number 39, a new certificate number 43, representing 12,500 shares was issued to Harold Glaser. Certificate number 41, representing 76,333 1/3 shares was issued on January 2, 1978, to Mark R. Wohl who surrendered it on February 18, 1980. Following cancellation of certificate number 41, a new certificate number 45, representing 76,333 1/3 shares was issued to Robert J. Wohl.

On appeal, Wife asserts the trial court erred in granting summary judgment to Respondents because (1) she is entitled to bring a separate action in equity to distribute marital property not considered by the trial court at dissolution; (2) pleading and proof of extrinsic fraud is not a prerequisite to recovery in this action; and (3) whether Wife, who was represented by counsel at the time of dissolution, had a right to rely upon Respondents' misrepresentations is a question of fact for trier of fact to decide.

We note initially that summary judgment is appropriate when the documents before the trial court, including pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, demonstrate that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Rule 74.04(c). A fact that is of such legal probative force as would control or determine the outcome of the litigation constitutes a material fact. Ware v. St. Louis Car Co., 384 S.W.2d 287, 290 (Mo.App.1964). The slightest doubt about such a fact thus gives rise to a genuine issue of material fact. See Signature Pool v. City of Manchester, 743 S.W.2d 538, 540 (Mo.App.1987). In reviewing a summary judgment, therefore, we must scrutinize the record most favorably to the party against whom the judgment was entered and accord that party the benefit of every doubt. Triggs v. Risinger, 772 S.W.2d 381, 382 (Mo.App.1989).

In her first point on appeal, Wife asserts that she is entitled to bring this separate suit in equity to divide marital property not considered by the dissolution court by reason of Husband's fraudulent misrepresentations. Respondents contend, however, that the trial court correctly granted summary judgment because Sections 452.110 and 452.360.2 RSMo.1986 2 bar any order affecting or altering the distribution of marital property set forth in a dissolution decree. We disagree with this contention.

Section 452.110 does provide in pertinent part that "[n]o petition for review of any judgment for divorce ... shall be allowed...." Moreover, Section 452.360.2 provides that "[t]he court's order as it affects distribution of marital property shall be a final order not subject to modification." Wife, however, neither has filed a petition for review of the dissolution judgment nor has sought modification of that judgment. Instead, she has filed a separate suit in equity, inter alia, to set aside and rescind the Settlement Agreement with respect to the division of certain marital property not considered by the dissolution cou...

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12 cases
  • Dahn v. Dahn
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 30 de junho de 2011
    ...claim for her ex-husband's alleged fraudulent misrepresentations that no marital property existed. Id. at 493; see also Karney v. Wohl, 785 S.W.2d 630, 633 n. 3 (Mo.App. E.D.1990) (recognizing wife's right to sue, post-dissolution, for husband's fraudulent pre-dissolution misrepresentations......
  • Fry v. Kersey, 91-CA-002068-S
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 26 de junho de 1992
    ...was not disposed of in the decree of dissolution. See, for example, McElroy v. McElroy, 826 S.W.2d 105 (Mo.App.1992); Karney v. Wohl, 785 S.W.2d 630 (Mo.App.1990); Adams v. Adams, 787 S.W.2d 619 (Tx.App.1990); Graves v. Graves, 198 Cal.App.3d 1047, 244 Cal.Rptr. 110 (1988); Padgett v. Hasto......
  • O.L. v. R.L., WD58259
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 16 de outubro de 2001
    ...fact is one "that is of such legal probative force as would control or determine the outcome of the litigation." Karney v. Wohl, 785 S.W.2d 630, 632 (Mo. App. 1990). We also note that "[i]n negligence cases, summary judgment is not as feasible as in other kinds of cases." Bruner v. City of ......
  • Lewis v. Biegel, WD 66435.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 31 de outubro de 2006
    ...the outcome of the litigation. Auto-Owners Mut. Ins. Co., Inc. v. Newman, 851 S.W.2d 22, 25 (Mo.App. W.D. 1993); Karney v. Wohl, 785 S.W.2d 630, 632 (Mo.App. E.D.1990). "[I]f the record contains competent evidence that two plausible, but contradictory accounts of essential facts exist, then......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • § 8.01 Personal Injury Claims
    • United States
    • Full Court Press Divorce, Separation and the Distribution of Property Title CHAPTER 8 Miscellaneous Property Interests
    • Invalid date
    ...App.2d 73, 691 P.2d 1325 (1984). Michigan: Courtney v. Feldstein, 147 Mich. App. 70, 382 N.W.2d 734 (1985). Missouri: Carney v. Wohl, 785 S.W.2d 630 (Mo. App. 1990). Pennsylvania: Hess v. Hess, 397 Pa. Super. 395, 580 A.2d 357 (1990). But see: Alaska: Hall v. Hall, 455 So.2d 813 (Alaska 198......

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