Chapter 527 Declaratory Judgments; Actions Involving Land Titles; Lis Pendens; Change of Name

527.188 - Petition for vacation of abandoned easement.

Steven Groce, Attorney Advertisement

A property owner of land burdened by an easement created after December 31, 2006, abandoned in whole for a period in excess of ten years, may petition a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain the rights previously transferred and vacation of the easement for monetary consideration equal to the original consideration obtained by the property owner in exchange for the easement.The holder of the easement shall be a party to such action.The holder of any such easement shall be allowed to maintain the easement upon a showing that the holder, in good faith, plans to make future use of the easement.The right to request that an easement be vacated may be waived by the property owner of record from whom the easement was originally acquired or by such property owner's successor in title to the burdened property either in the original instrument of conveyance or in a subsequent signed writing.

(L. 2006 H.B. 1944 § 3)

527.080 - Supplemental relief.

Further relief based on a declaratory judgment or decree may be granted whenever necessary or proper.The application therefor shall be by petition to a court having jurisdiction to grant the relief.If the application be deemed sufficient, the court shall, on reasonable notice, require any adverse party whose rights have been adjudicated by the declaratory judgment or decree, to show cause why further relief should not be granted forthwith.

(RSMo 1939 § 1133)

527.180 - Suit to perfect title by limitation — proceedings.

In all cases when, under the provisions of section 516.070, the title or claim of any person out of possession of any real estate shall be barred by limitation, and the title thereto has vested in the party in possession, or the party under whom he claims, under the provisions of said section, the party holding the title which has vested by limitation under the provisions of said section may bring his action in the circuit court of the county in which the real estate is situated, to have his record title thereto perfected, and it shall be sufficient for him to state in his petition that he holds the title to such real estate, and that the same has vested in him or those under whom he claims, by limitation under the provisions of said section, and in such action it shall not be necessary to make any person a party defendant except such persons as may appear to have of record a claim or title adverse to that of plaintiff, and upon the trial of such cause, proof of the facts, showing title in plaintiff by limitation by reason of the provisions of said section, shall entitle him to a decree of the court declaring his title by limitation under the provisions of said section, and a copy of such decree may be entered of record in the office of the recorder of deeds for said county, and in any such action service of process may be had as provided in chapter 506 in causes affecting real estate, and if in any case the person whose adverse claim appears of record shall be dead, then the heirs or devisees of such person, or those claiming by, through or under him or them, if known, shall be made defendants, as adverse claimants, and if they be unknown to plaintiff, then he shall allege in his petition, under oath, that there are, or that he verily believes there are, persons interested in the subject matter of the petition as heirs or devisees of deceased, or as claiming by, through or under him or them, whose names he cannot insert therein because they are unknown to him, and shall describe the interest of such person, and how derived, so far as his knowledge extends, and service of process on such unknown person shall be had as in said chapter 506 is provided in case of unknown parties, and when such service shall be had, judgment and decree shall be rendered the same as though personal service had been had.

(RSMo 1939 § 1687)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1523; 1919 § 1973; 1909 § 2538

527.280 - Fees to be paid by petitioner.

The fees for proceedings under sections 527.270 to 527.290 shall be the same as are now or may hereafter be allowed in similar cases in said court, to be paid by the petitioner.

(RSMo 1939 § 1707)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1543; 1919 § 1993; 1909 § 2557

527.190 - Proceedings to establish title when records, deeds are lost or destroyed.

1.Any person or persons claiming an estate or interest in any lands or real estate in this state, and whose deeds, mortgages, or other written evidence of title or interest, or the record thereof, have been lost or destroyed, may apply by petition to the circuit court of the county in which the land or any part thereof lies, or the record was destroyed, setting forth in said petition a description of said lands, the nature and extent of his, her or their interest or estate therein, and a description of his or her or their deeds, mortgages or other evidence of title, and give the date and contents of said deeds, mortgages or other written evidence of title, and the name or names of the person or persons who executed the same, and the interest therein conveyed to the said claimant, as fully and particularly as said petitioner shall be able.

2.The said petitioner or petitioners shall also set forth in his, her or their petition the manner in which his, her or their deed or deeds, or other evidence of title in and to the lands described in said petition, were lost and destroyed, and praying the said court to hear and make a record of such evidence as the said petitioner or petitioners shall produce, touching or concerning his, her or their alleged estate or interest in and to said lands described in his, her or their petition; and upon hearing such testimony and proof of title as is produced by the said petitioner or petitioners, in support of his, her or their interest and estate in and to said lands described in the said petition, the estate or interest of the said petitioner shall be adjudged and determined by the said court, according to the evidence adduced by the said petitioner or petitioners in support of the estate or interest in which he, she or they may have in and to the said lands described in the said petition, which said petition shall be verified by the affidavit of the petitioner or petitioners, or by the affidavit of some person petitioning in his, her or their behalf.

(RSMo 1939 § 1688)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1524; 1919 § 1974; 1909 § 2539

527.090 - Jury trial.

When a proceeding under sections 527.010 to 527.130 involves the determination of an issue of fact, such issue may be tried and determined in the same manner as issues of fact are tried and determined in other civil actions in the court in which the proceeding is pending.

(RSMo 1939 § 1134)

527.290 - Notice of change to be given, when and how — not required, when.

1.Public notice of such a change of name shall be given at least three times in a newspaper published in the county where such person is residing, within twenty days after the order of court is made, and if no newspaper is published in the person's or any adjacent county, then such notice shall be given in a newspaper published in the City of St. Louis, or at the seat of government.

2.Public notice of such name change through publication as required in subsection 1 of this section shall not be required, and any system operated by the judiciary that is designed to provide public case information electronically shall not post the name change, if the petitioner is:

(1)The victim of a crime, the underlying factual basis of which is found by the court on the record to include an act of domestic violence, as defined in section 455.010;

(2)The victim of child abuse, as defined in section 210.110; or

(3)The victim of domestic violence by a family or household member, as defined in section 455.010.

(RSMo 1939 § 1708, A.L. 2004 S.B. 1211, A.L. 2011 S.B. 320, A.L. 2013 H.B. 215)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1544; 1919 § 1994; 1909 § 2558

527.230 - Copy to be recorded, where — may be read in evidence.

A certified copy of any decree entered in pursuance of sections 527.190 to 527.250 shall be recorded in the office of the recorder or register of deeds of the said county where the lands are situate, and a certified copy of said decree, or of the record thereof, may be read as evidence in all courts and judicial proceedings in this state.

(RSMo 1939 § 1693)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1529; 1919 § 1979; 1909 § 2543

527.130 - "Person" defined.

The word "person", wherever used in sections 527.010 to 527.130, shall be construed to mean any person, including a minor represented by next friend or guardian ad litem and any other person under disability lawfully represented, partnership, joint-stock company, corporation, unincorporated association or society or municipal or other corporation of any character whatsoever.

(RSMo 1939 § 1138)

527.030 - Before breach.

A contract may be construed either before or after there has been a breach thereof.

(RSMo 1939 § 1128)

527.220 - Limitation — court may modify its decree, when.

Any person claiming any estate or interest in such lands adverse to the terms of the decree, who has not been personally served with notice, as is provided in section 527.200, or who has not entered his appearance in the cause and answered the petition, as provided in section 527.210, may enter his appearance in the cause at any time within two years after the entry of the decree, and, on his motion, after giving twenty days' notice to the petitioner or petitioners, or any person claiming by, through or under him, her or them, such proceedings shall be opened for the purpose of hearing, upon proof duly taken, any claim of title or interest to or in the lands which may be produced by the person making such motion; and on hearing such motion, and evidence and proof thereupon submitted, the court shall adjudge the ownership and title of the lands according to the evidence adduced, modifying its former decree as the evidence and nature of the case shall in justice and equity require; and if no motion to open such proceedings shall be made within two years from the entering of such decree, the same shall be conclusive against all persons claiming an estate or interest in the lands adverse to the rights of its petitioner, as defined in the decree, except infants and mentally incapacitated persons, who shall be allowed respectively two years after their disability is removed to appear and enter their motion for opening of their proceedings, and make answer to such petition or petitions.

(RSMo 1939 § 1692, A. 1949 H.B. 2129, A.L. 1983 S.B. 44 & 45)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1528; 1919 § 1978; 1909 § 2542

527.020 - Power to construe.

Any person interested under a deed, will, written contract or other writings constituting a contract, or whose rights, status or other legal relations are affected by a statute, municipal ordinance, contract or franchise, may have determined any question of construction or validity arising under the instrument, statute, ordinance, contract, or franchise and obtain a declaration of rights, status or other legal relations thereunder.

(RSMo 1939 § 1127)

(1978) Held not-for-profit corporation is legal entity separate and apart from the persons who are members, and in order to have standing the corporation itself must have legally protected interest. Interest of individual members cannot give standing to corporation. Citizens Against Rezoning, Inc. v. St.Louis County (A.), 563 S.W.2d 173.

527.120 - Construction.

This law is declared to be remedial; its purpose is to settle and to afford relief from uncertainty and insecurity with respect to rights, status and other legal relations; and is to be liberally construed and administered.

(RSMo 1939 § 1137)

527.100 - Costs.

In any proceeding under sections 527.010 to 527.130 the court may make such award of costs as may seem equitable and just.

(RSMo 1939 § 1135)

527.200 - Publication of notice — proceedings.

On the filing of said petition with the clerk of said court, it shall be the duty of said clerk to cause a notice to be published in some public newspaper published in the county where the cause is pending, and if there be no newspaper published in said county, then in some public newspaper published nearest to the county seat of said county, addressed to all whom it may concern, and setting forth the filing of said petition, a description of the lands in said petition described, and the estate or interest claimed therein by said petitioner or petitioners, and that a decree will be entered in said cause at the next term of said court after the due publication of said notice, and the title or interest to or in said land adjudged to said petitioner or petitioners, according to the prayer of said petition; which said notice shall be published once a week for at least four weeks, the last insertion to be at least four weeks prior to the term of said court; and if any person or persons shall be in possession of said lands in the petition described, then a copy of the notice shall be duly served upon such person or persons, at least twenty days previous to said regular term of said court, subsequent to the publication of said notice, as herein provided;and at the next term of said court after the due publication of said notice, the petitioner or petitioners may produce and submit to the court such evidence and proof of title or interest to or in the said lands in the petition described, as he may be able, and also touching and concerning the loss or destruction of his said deed or other evidence of title in and to the lands; which evidence and proofs shall be taken, and proceedings had, after the form and practice and proceedings in civil cases in said court.

(RSMo 1939 § 1689)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1525; 1919 § 1975; 1909 § 2540

527.110 - Parties.

When declaratory relief is sought, all persons shall be made parties who have or claim any interest which would be affected by the declaration, and no declaration shall prejudice the rights of persons not parties to the proceedings.In any proceeding which involves the validity of a municipal ordinance or franchise, such municipality shall be made a party, and shall be entitled to be heard, and if the statute, ordinance or franchise is alleged to be unconstitutional, the attorney general of the state shall also be served with a copy of the proceeding and be entitled to be heard.

(RSMo 1939 § 1136)

(1978) Held, that city of Lake Ozark was not an interested party in action under Sawyer Act when it intervened in annexation proceeding brought by city of Osage Beach, even though Lake Ozark was attempting to annex the same land.No question concerning validity of Lake Ozark annexation was raised. State ex rel. City of Lake Ozark v. City of Osage Beach (A.), 568 S.W.2d 539.

527.010 - Scope.

The circuit courts of this state, within their respective jurisdictions shall have power to declare rights, status, and other legal relations whether or not further relief is or could be claimed.No action or proceeding shall be open to objection on the ground that a declaratory judgment or decree is prayed for.The declaration may be either affirmative or negative in form and effect; and such declarations shall have the force and effect of a final judgment or decree.

(RSMo 1939 § 1126, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1634)

Effective 1-02-79

(1971) Petition by landowners for judicial declaration that defendant city was without right to extract the percolating waters for sale away from the premises when to do so would deprive plaintiffs, abutting landowners, of reasonable use of underground water for beneficial use of their own land and for injunction against city was sufficient as statement of claim for declaratory relief and to invoke trial court's equitable jurisdiction to consider request for injunction relief and should not have been dismissed without a hearing. Higday v. Nickolaus (A.), 469 S.W.2d 859.

(1974) Held that declaratory judgment is proper procedure for determining parentage and legal status of a child with regard to a natural or adoptive parent. S____ v. W____ (A.), 514 S.W.2d 848.

(1978) Held, it is not the purpose of declaratory judgment to allow prospective negligence action defendant to obtain a declaration of nonliability, though such action may be entertained in discretion of court. Campbell 66 Express v. Thermo King of Springfield (A.), 563 S.W.2d 776.

527.210 - Decree conclusive as to whom — prima facie as to whom.

Any person who may claim an interest or estate in said lands adverse to that alleged in the said petition or petitions may appear and answer said petition, and resist the claims of said petitioner or petitioners in and to the said lands, and may also produce and submit such evidence and proof of his estate or interest in the said lands, as he, she or they, or any person acting in his, her or their behalf, may desire, conforming in all respects to the same rules of equity as herein provided for the government of petitioner or petitioners; and if, upon a final hearing of the petition, the court shall find the allegations of said petition to be substantially proved, it shall order a decree in said cause adjudging said petitioner or petitioners to be seized of an interest and estate in the said land, according to the allegations and prayer of the said petitioner or petitioners, which said decree shall be conclusive against all persons and parties who may appear and answer in said cause, or who shall have been personally served with notice, and shall be prima facie evidence against all other persons claiming said premises from the time of entering of the said decree.

(RSMo 1939 § 1691)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1527; 1919 § 1977; 1909 § 2541

527.040 - Declaration of rights or legal relationships, right to obtain, when.

Any person interested as or through a personal representative, trustee, guardian or other fiduciary, creditor, devisee, legatee, heir, next of kin, or cestui que trust, in the administration of a trust, or of the estate of a decedent, an infant, mentally incapacitated person, or insolvent may have a declaration of rights or legal relations in respect thereto:

(1)To ascertain any class of creditors, devisees, legatees, heirs, next of kin or others; or

(2)To direct the personal representatives or trustees to do or abstain from doing any particular act in their fiduciary capacity; or

(3)To determine any question arising in the administration of the estate or trust, including questions of construction of wills and other writings.

(RSMo 1939 § 1129, A.L. 1983 S.B. 44 & 45)

527.240 - Proceedings to conform to the rules in civil practice.

All proceedings had under sections 527.190 to 527.250, inclusive, shall conform, when not otherwise expressly provided, as near as may be to the rules and practice in civil cases.

(RSMo 1939 § 1694)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1530; 1919 § 1980; 1909 § 2544

527.150 - Suits to determine interest and quiet title, how instituted — effect of judgment.

1.Any person claiming any title, estate or interest in real property, whether the same be legal or equitable, certain or contingent, present or in reversion, or remainder, whether in possession or not, may institute an action against any person or persons having or claiming to have any title, estate or interest in such property, whether in possession or not, to ascertain and determine the estate, title and interest of said parties, respectively, in such real estate, and to define and adjudge by its judgment or decree the title, estate and interest of the parties severally in and to such real property.

2.And upon the trial of such cause, if same be asked for in the pleadings of either party, the court may hear and finally determine any and all rights, claims, interest, liens and demands, whatsoever of the parties, or of any one of them, concerning or affecting said real property, and may award full and complete relief, whether legal or equitable, to the several parties, and to each of them, as fully and with the same force and effect as the court might or could in any other or different action brought by the parties, or any one of them, to enforce any such right, claim, interest, lien or demand, and the judgment or decree of the court when so rendered shall be as effectual between the parties thereto as if rendered in any other, different or separate action prosecuted therefor.

(RSMo 1939 § 1684)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1520; 1919 § 1970; 1909 § 2535

(1971) Where neither the plaintiffs nor defendants were claiming title to any lands of which the other had title and only issue was the location on the ground of the boundary line between the two tracts, ejectment was the proper remedy and it was error to decree title in plaintiff. Carroz v. Kaminiski (Mo.), 467 S.W.2d 871.

527.050 - Enumeration not exclusive.

The enumeration in sections 527.020 to 527.040, does not limit or restrict the exercise of the general powers conferred in section 527.010, in any proceeding where declaratory relief is sought, in which a judgment or decree will terminate the controversy or remove an uncertainty.

(RSMo 1939 § 1130)

527.250 - Form of publication notice.

In all actions instituted under any of the provisions of sections 527.150 to 527.250, where it is desired or shall be necessary to notify any defendant by publication of the commencement or pendency of such action, such order of publication, notwithstanding any provision in said sections to the contrary, shall be in substance in the following form, and when so made and given shall in all cases be deemed and held sufficient, to wit:

______, Plaintiff,
______, Defendant.
The state of Missouri to the above named or described defendant, greetings:
You are hereby notified that an action had been commenced against you in the ______ court of the county (or city) of ______, in the state of Missouri, affecting the title to the following described lands and tenements, to wit: (here set out description of property), which said action is returnable on the first day of the next term of said court to be held at the courthouse in the city of ______ in the county and state aforesaid, on the ______ day of ______, 20______, when and where you may appear and answer or otherwise defend such action; otherwise plaintiff's petition will be taken as confessed and judgment rendered accordingly.

(RSMo 1939 § 1690)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1526; 1919 § 1976

527.270 - Petition, where presented — contents — proceedings.

Hereafter every person desiring to change his or her name may present a petition to that effect, verified by affidavit, to the circuit court in the county of the petitioner's residence, which petition shall set forth the petitioner's full name, the new name desired, and a concise statement of the reason for such desired change; and it shall be the duty of the judge of such court to order such change to be made, and spread upon the records of the court, in proper form, if such judge is satisfied that the desired change would be proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person.

(RSMo 1939 § 1706)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1542; 1919 § 1992; 1909 § 2556

527.170 - Costs in suits to determine interest and quiet title.

If the defendant or defendants in suits brought under the provisions of sections 527.150 and 527.160 shall make default, or appearing, shall by answer admit the fact as stated in the petition and consent to judgment as prayed for, the plaintiff shall be adjudged to pay all costs of the suit.

(RSMo 1939 § 1686)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 1522; 1919 § 1972; 1909 § 2537

527.070 - Review.

All orders, judgments and decrees under sections 527.010 to 527.130 may be reviewed as other orders, judgments and decrees.

(RSMo 1939 § 1132)

527.260 - Notice of lis pendens in equity action — recording.

In any civil action, based on any equitable right, claim or lien, affecting or designed to affect real estate, the plaintiff shall file for record, with the recorder of deeds of the county in which any such real estate is situated, a written notice of the pendency of the suit, stating the names of the parties, the style of the action and the term of the court to which such suit is brought, and a description of the real estate liable to be affected thereby; and the pendency of such suit shall be constructive notice to purchasers or encumbrancers, only from the time of filing such notice.The recorder shall note the time of receiving such notice, and shall record and index the same in like manner as deeds of real estate are required to be recorded and indexed.

(RSMo 1939 § 3545)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 3155; 1919 § 7215; 1909 § 8211

(1969) In any civil action designed to affect real estate, where the plaintiff files for record a written notice of the pendency of the suit, and the notice of lis pendens has a reasonable relation to the action filed, absolute privilege attaches to its recordation.Houska v. Frederick (Mo.), 447 S.W.2d 514.

527.060 - Discretionary.

The court may refuse to render or enter a declaratory judgment or decree where such judgment or decree, if rendered or entered, would not terminate the uncertainty or controversy giving rise to the proceeding.

(RSMo 1939 § 1131)

527.160 - Practice to conform to code of civil procedure.

The institution, prosecution, trial and determination of suits under section 527.150 shall conform in all respects to the provisions of the code of civil procedure now existing and be in force in this state concerning actions affecting real estate, and judgments rendered in such suits shall have the force and effect as therein provided.