Okello v. Beebe, WD

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Citation930 S.W.2d 40
Docket NumberNo. WD,WD
PartiesSimon OKELLO, Respondent, v. Steven J. BEEBE, d/b/a Cars For Less, Defendant, John Smith, Appellant. 51353.
Decision Date06 August 1996

Page 40

930 S.W.2d 40
Simon OKELLO, Respondent,
Steven J. BEEBE, d/b/a Cars For Less, Defendant,
John Smith, Appellant.
No. WD 51353.
Missouri Court of Appeals,
Western District.
Aug. 6, 1996.
Motion for Rehearing and/or Transfer to
Supreme Court Denied Oct. 1, 1996.

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Charles A. Kellogg, Marcia J. Lamkin, Independence, for appellant.

Richard T. Brewster, Jr., Brewster & Brewster, Kansas City, for respondent.



John Smith appeals from a judgment in a court-tried action for conversion and for assault and battery. 1 Mr. Smith contends that (1) the trial court erroneously applied the law pertaining to conversion and the transfer of title of a used motor vehicle; (2) the trial court lacked jurisdiction to hear the conversion claim because of the lack of standing of the plaintiff, Simon Okello; and (3) the trial court erred by entering an award of punitive damages.

The appeal is dismissed and the cause remanded.

The following statement of facts recites the evidence in a light most favorable to the judgment of the trial court. Trenton Trust Co. v. Western Sur. Co., 599 S.W.2d 481, 483 (Mo.1980). On November 5, 1994, Simon Okello went to Cars 4 Less, a business owned by Mr. Smith, to purchase an automobile. There, he bought a 1988 Honda Accord for $3,660.00. Mr. Okello made a down payment of $1,000.00, and an additional $800.00 was credited toward the purchase price because Mr. Okello traded in a 1981 Dodge Omni. The transaction was accompanied by a bill of sale stating that the balance due of $1,895.00 was to be paid in weekly installments.

In the course of the sales transaction, Mr. Smith gave Mr. Okello an Application for Missouri Title and License, which listed Cars 4 Less as holding a lien on the automobile. A certificate of title was never delivered to Mr. Okello, however, and there is no evidence in the record that Mr. Smith ever assigned title to the vehicle to Mr. Okello.

Mr. Okello experienced mechanical problems with the vehicle the day after he drove it home. On the next business day, Mr. Okello complained to Mr. Smith, and Mr. Smith arranged for the automobile to be towed back to the Cars 4 Less lot. In a subsequent telephone conversation, Mr. Smith told Mr. Okello that the automobile needed repairs to replace a burned-out clutch and to fix a problem with overheating. Mr. Smith told Mr. Okello that Mr. Okello would have to pay for the repairs to the clutch, which would cost $600.00.

Mr. Okello then told Mr. Smith that he had a friend who could fix the clutch at a lower cost, but Mr. Smith refused to let Mr. Okello remove the automobile from the lot to have his friend make the repairs. On November

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8, 1994, Mr. Okello went to the Cars 4 Less lot in another attempt to persuade Mr. Smith to allow him to take the automobile to his friend for repairs. According to Mr. Okello, Mr. Smith took out a gun and pushed him off the premises.

Mr. Okello subsequently filed a two-count petition seeking damages from Mr. Smith. Count I of the petition was a claim for conversion, and Count II was a claim for assault and battery. Mr. Okello sought both actual and punitive damages in each count. Following a bench trial, the court announced: "I'm going to find the issues for the plaintiff for $3,600.00 actual damages and $10,000.00 punitive damages." The trial court also made a docket entry which stated: "Issues for [plaintiff] for $3600.00 and costs actual damages and $10,000.00 punitive damages." Mr. Smith now appeals from this decision.

As a prerequisite to considering the merits of Mr. Smith's appeal, this court must determine whether the underlying judgment is final, since absent a final judgment, this court has no appellate jurisdiction. Four Seasons Lakesites v. Dungan, 781 S.W.2d 269, 271 (Mo.App.1989). In order for a...

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9 cases
  • Dimmitt v. Progressive Casualty Ins. Co., WD58782
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 28 Mayo 2002
    ...courts traditionally have held that failure to register equates to lack of the right to ownership or possession. Okello v. Beebe, 930 S.W.2d 40, 43 (Mo. App. 1996)(buyer of used car had no right to possession or ownership where he had not been given title). Further, the general rule is that......
  • Cronin v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., WD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 9 Diciembre 1997
    ...See Butcher v. Main, 426 S.W.2d 356, 358 (Mo.1968); Pinkston v. Ellington, 845 S.W.2d 627, 629 (Mo.App. E.D.1992); Okello v. Beebe, 930 S.W.2d 40, 43 (Mo.App. Page 590 BERREY, Senior Judge, concurs. EDWIN H. SMITH, P.J. concurs in result in separate concurring opinion. EDWIN H. SMITH, Presi......
  • Minton v. Hill, WD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 8 Abril 1997
    ...necessary to maintain an action for conversion. The buyer must seek another remedy if the seller retains the vehicle. Okello v. Beebe, 930 S.W.2d 40, 43 (Mo.App.1996). Conversion is defined as "the wrongful exercise of dominion or ownership over personal property which interferes with anoth......
  • Bolt v. Giordano, ED 93121.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 20 Abril 2010
    ...requirements of Section 301.210 are absolute, mandatory, and must be enforced rigidly. Shivers, 219 S.W.3d at 303-04; Okello v. Beebe, 930 S.W.2d 40, 43 (Mo.App. W.D. 1996). Our Supreme Court has explained the importance of strict compliance with Section 301.210 because this section a speci......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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