Reed v. Rope, No. WD

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtULRICH
Citation817 S.W.2d 503
PartiesIda Hankin REED, Respondent, v. Herbert M. ROPE, Personal Representative of the Estate of Andrew Reed, Deceased, Appellant. 43362.
Docket NumberNo. WD
Decision Date30 July 1991

Page 503

817 S.W.2d 503
Ida Hankin REED, Respondent,
v.
Herbert M. ROPE, Personal Representative of the Estate of
Andrew Reed, Deceased, Appellant.
No. WD 43362.
Missouri Court of Appeals,
Western District.
July 30, 1991.
Motion for Rehearing and/or Transfer to
Supreme Court Denied Oct. 1, 1991.
Application to Transfer Denied Nov. 19, 1991.

Page 504

Donald E. Raymond, Raymond, Raymond & Minton, Kansas City, for appellant.

William C. Partin, Matt Partin, Partin & Partin, P.C., Kansas City, for respondent.

Before TURNAGE, P.J., and LOWENSTEIN, ULRICH and BRECKENRIDGE, JJ.

ULRICH, Judge.

Herbert M. Rope, Personal Representative of the Estate of Andrew Reed, Deceased, appeals from the judgment of the Probate Division entered on the jury verdict in favor of Ida Hankin Reed and against the estate of her late husband. Mrs. Reed was awarded $166,233 for breaches to the antenuptial agreement signed by Mr. and Mrs. Reed approximately twenty-five years before the marriage was terminated by Mr. Reed's death. The actionable portions of the agreement provided that Mr. Reed would supply his prospective bride "a suitable home and provisions from his funds and that there shall be no obligation on [her] part to provide any funds therefor...." The agreement also

Page 505

provided that if Mr. Reed predeceased his prospective wife, she would have the right to "live and reside in [his] home for the rest of her natural life...." Mrs. Reed's claim alleged breach of her husband's promise to provide a suitable home and provisions and breach of his promise to provide a life estate in the house he built for the couple when they were married. The judgment is affirmed.

Mr. Rope contends that the judgment is erroneous and asserts five points on appeal. He alleges (1) the applicable statute of limitation precludes much of Mrs. Reed's claim and that the trial court erroneously permitted the introduction of evidence regarding claims outside the statutory period; (2) the expert economist who testified in behalf of Mrs. Reed about the damages she sustained from Mr. Reed's breach of the antenuptial agreement used erroneous data to make his calculations and the trial court should have stricken his testimony; (3) the expert economist failed to assess, in the manner prescribed by law, the loss of Mrs. Reed's life estate in Mr. Reed's house; (4) the court erroneously permitted Mrs. Reed's expert economist to utilize summaries, prepared by Mrs. Reed's attorney, of Mr. Reed's tax returns for several years; and (5) the evidence that Mrs. Reed performed her wifely duties over the years of the marriage was irrelevant, prejudicial and erroneously admitted.

This case is not unfamiliar to this court. Ida Hankin Reed filed her petition in the circuit court to discover assets of Mr. Reed's estate. Mr. Rope pleaded the validity of the antenuptial agreement in his answer, and Mrs. Reed filed a reply raising as an affirmative defense the invalidity of the agreement. Mr. Rope then filed in this court a petition for a writ of prohibition seeking to prohibit Judge John A. Borron, Jr., from conducting a jury trial on Mrs. Reed's petition to discover the assets of Mr. Reed's estate prior to determining the validity of her equitable defense that the antenuptial agreement was invalid and on other issues. This court made absolute its writ of prohibition, finding that the equitable issue of the validity of the antenuptial agreement should first be determined by the trial court before submitting to a jury the petition to discover assets which sought damages against Mr. Reed's estate for his alleged failure to perform the agreement. See State ex rel. Rope v. Borron, 762 S.W.2d 427 (Mo.App.1988). The trial court then determined the antenuptial agreement valid. Mrs. Reed's conditional claim for breach of the antenuptial agreement was then tried to a jury. The jury awarded Mrs. Reed $166,233, and judgment was entered. Appeal is taken from that judgment.

Ida Hankin Reed immigrated from Russia to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1912. She resided with her parents and attended school through the sixth grade when she quit school and became employed to assist her parents financially. In 1925, she married Louis Hankin. Two children were born of the marriage. In 1931, Mr. and Mrs. Hankin moved to Nevada, Missouri, and began a clothing store business. The couple operated the clothing store together until 1946 when Mr. Hankin died. His wife continued to operate the clothing store until 1949 when she hired a manager and moved to Kansas City. Thereafter, Mrs. Reed commuted to Nevada each week by bus.

Mrs. Hankin met Andrew Reed in 1957. Mr. Reed owned and operated an automobile wrecking business in Kansas City. Mr. Reed was a widower and the father of three adult children. Mrs. Hankin and Mr. Reed saw each other approximately twice a week over a period of two and a half years. In early 1960 the couple agreed to marry. Mr. Reed asked Mrs. Hankin to give up the store saying that he would "make a living for [her and] provide a home and all necessities of life." He said, "I want a wife to be home when I come home, I want her to be there." Mrs. Hankin closed her store.

Approximately one week prior to May 22, 1960, the wedding date, Mr. Reed informed Mrs. Hankin that he wanted a prenuptial agreement. Pursuant to Mr. Reed's request, Charles Rubins, an attorney and Mrs. Hankin's brother, prepared the agreement. The proposed agreement was reviewed by Mr. Reed's attorney, and the

Page 506

document was signed by Mr. Reed and Mrs. Hankin.

The couple were married on May 22, 1960, and immediately began residing in the house constructed for them by Mr. Reed but apparently titled in his name only. Mrs. Reed furnished the house with furniture that she had acquired prior to their marriage.

Sometime in 1961, Mr. Reed demanded that his wife begin paying one-half of the living expenses. First refusing, Mrs. Reed soon began to pay. Every month Mr. Reed recorded his payments for lights, gas, telephone, groceries, and the newspaper. He kept an accounting. For approximately twenty-four years, at the end of each month, Mr. Reed presented his wife with a bill for one-half the household living expenses and Mrs. Reed reimbursed her husband to the sum presented. In addition to paying one-half of the household expenses, beginning in 1961 and continuing until the couple separated in 1985, Mrs. Reed paid her own clothing expenses, health insurance premiums and other medical expenses not paid by health insurance.

One early morning in August 1985, Mr. Reed demanded that his wife pay him $500 a month rent thereafter for living in the house that he had built. Mr. Reed told his wife that if she didn't pay him rent, he would kill her. When Mr. Reed went to a bedroom to obtain a firearm, Mrs. Reed, then dressed in nightgown, robe, and house shoes, exited the house with her handbag and car keys and drove to her sister's house. As Mrs. Reed drove away from the residence, her husband stood in the doorway of the house with a firearm in his hands. Mrs. Reed never returned to live in the house and acquired an apartment in September 1985.

Sometime in 1984, Mr. Reed informed his wife that, contrary to the antenuptial agreement, if he predeceased her, she would be permitted to remain in the house which had served as their marital residence two months and then she would have to vacate the residence. After Mrs. Reed departed the home in 1985, Mr. Reed wrote a codicil to his will which denied Mrs. Reed any right to possess the house during the remainder of her life if Mr. Reed predeceased her. The will and the codicil were admitted to probate after Mr. Reed's death, effectively precluding Mrs. Reed access to the house.

Mr. Rope contends, as point (1), that the trial court erred in sustaining Mrs. Reed's "motion in limine" and thereby denying him the affirmative defense that Mrs. Reed was precluded by at least one statute of limitation (§ 516.110, RSMo 1986, or, alternatively, § 516.120, RSMo 1986) from introducing evidence of events that occurred more than five years prior to the date on which she filed her claim. Mrs. Reed argues that a motion in limine is not appealable. She also argues that Mr. Rope waived any statute of limitation affirmative defense that he might have had by failing to raise it in his initial responsive pleading, by failing to tender an instruction to submit the issue to the jury, and by relying on an inapplicable statute of limitation.

The first item considered is whether the court's ruling on Mrs. Reed's "motion in limine" is appealable. The purpose of a motion in limine is to seek the trial court's ruling that precludes the attempted introduction of evidence by opposing counsel which the movant considers objectionable. See Robbins v. Jewish Hosp. of St. Louis, 663 S.W.2d 341, 348 (Mo.App.1983). Rulings on motions in limine are not normally appealable because they are interlocutory. Annin v. Bi-State Dev. Agency, 657 S.W.2d 382, 385 (Mo.App.1983); Peters v. Henshaw, 640 S.W.2d 197, 201 (Mo.App.1982).

In this case, Mrs. Reed's written motion in limine was not limited to attempting to preclude introduction of objectionable evidence. The motion attempted to strike the affirmative defense that a statute of limitation precluded Mrs. Reed from introducing purportedly untimely evidence. The court's ruling that no statute of limitation defense was available and its ruling that it would not submit a statute of limitation instruction to the jury treated the motion in limine as a motion to...

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13 practice notes
  • Nettles v. American Tel. and Tel. Co., No. 94-3337
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • June 5, 1995
    ...calling for repeated performances over time, with individual breaches resulting in separate items of damage. See, e.g., Reed v. Rope, 817 S.W.2d 503 (Mo.Ct.App.1991); Sabine v. Leonard, 322 S.W.2d 831 (Mo.1959). Rather, Nettles alleges a single breach, from which all damages have flowed. Al......
  • Cox v. Ripley County, No. SD29740
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • July 27, 2010
    ...not amend its answer, and thereby waived this defense. In support, Cox cites Gibson v. Ransdell, 188 S.W.2d 35 (Mo. 1945), Reed v. Rope, 817 S.W.2d 503 (Mo.App. 1991), Tudor v. Tudor, 617 S.W.2d 610 (Mo.App. 1981), and Rebel v. Big Tarkio Drainage Dist., 602 S.W.2d 787, 790 (Mo.App. 1980).2......
  • Stanley v. Lafayette Life Ins. Co., Case No.: 3:13-cv-05137-MDH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • September 14, 2015
    ...v. Leonard, 322 S.W.2d 831, 837-38 (Mo. 1959), which involved a debtor's unpaid installments under a promissory note, and Reed v. Rope, 817 S.W.2d 503, 508 (Mo. Ct. App. 1991), which involved an ex-husband's breaches of an antenuptial agreement. Federal appellate courts, in rejecting the co......
  • Forrest T. Jones and Co. v. Variable Annuity Life, No. 99-1140-CV-W-HFS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • August 1, 2006
    ...last year in Creative Marketing Associates, Inc. v. AT & T Corporation, 2005 WL 2250831 (W.D.Mo. 2005). A case cited there, Reed v. Rope, 817 S.W.2d 503 (Mo.App.1991), preserved for decades a claim under an antenuptial agreement. Where a special relationship exists between a claimant and an......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • Nettles v. American Tel. and Tel. Co., No. 94-3337
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • June 5, 1995
    ...calling for repeated performances over time, with individual breaches resulting in separate items of damage. See, e.g., Reed v. Rope, 817 S.W.2d 503 (Mo.Ct.App.1991); Sabine v. Leonard, 322 S.W.2d 831 (Mo.1959). Rather, Nettles alleges a single breach, from which all damages have flowed. Al......
  • Cox v. Ripley County, No. SD29740
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • July 27, 2010
    ...not amend its answer, and thereby waived this defense. In support, Cox cites Gibson v. Ransdell, 188 S.W.2d 35 (Mo. 1945), Reed v. Rope, 817 S.W.2d 503 (Mo.App. 1991), Tudor v. Tudor, 617 S.W.2d 610 (Mo.App. 1981), and Rebel v. Big Tarkio Drainage Dist., 602 S.W.2d 787, 790 (Mo.App. 1980).2......
  • Stanley v. Lafayette Life Ins. Co., Case No.: 3:13-cv-05137-MDH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • September 14, 2015
    ...v. Leonard, 322 S.W.2d 831, 837-38 (Mo. 1959), which involved a debtor's unpaid installments under a promissory note, and Reed v. Rope, 817 S.W.2d 503, 508 (Mo. Ct. App. 1991), which involved an ex-husband's breaches of an antenuptial agreement. Federal appellate courts, in rejecting the co......
  • Forrest T. Jones and Co. v. Variable Annuity Life, No. 99-1140-CV-W-HFS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • August 1, 2006
    ...year in Creative Marketing Associates, Inc. v. AT & T Corporation, 2005 WL 2250831 (W.D.Mo. 2005). A case cited there, Reed v. Rope, 817 S.W.2d 503 (Mo.App.1991), preserved for decades a claim under an antenuptial agreement. Where a special relationship exists between a claimant and an ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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