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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Eviction proceedings in Missouri cannot begin until a tenant is one month behind on rent, so why did our landlord, Trent Cowherd, try to evict 25 days too early?

Trent Cowherd and his wife, Sharon
(From Facebook)
An eviction proceeding cannot begin, under Missouri law, until a tenant is behind on rent by at least one month. My wife, Carol, and I were behind on rent by five days when we were evicted in Greene County, Missouri -- and we would not have been behind at all if a representative for landlord Trent Cowherd had not told us that we were going to be booted out whether we paid rent or not, citing a provision that was not in the lease.

This makes at least four ways our eviction on September 9, 2015, was unlawful. That is particularly powerful when you consider Carol now faces criminal charges for "assault on a law enforcement officer" and trespass, related to the eviction -- when deputies from the Greene County Sheriff's Department had zero legal grounds to be on the rental property that day. In fact, we now know they needed at least another 25 days to be there.

On top of that, a deputy assaulted Carol during the eviction and shattered her arm, requiring trauma surgery. Carol's left arm is filled with plates and screws, and she has limited use of it, because of an eviction that Trent Cowherd had no lawful grounds to bring.

Court records show Trent Cowherd has been filing rent-and-possession cases since at least 1992, so he's been a landlord for roughly 25 years -- and he does not know the law on evictions? Craig F. Lowther, Cowherd's attorney, has been filing R and P cases since at least 1990, and he does not know the law? My lawyer-brother, David Shuler, was involved in our case (theoretically representing our mother, who was our cosigner), and he does not know the law?

This takes an already corrupt proceeding to a whole new level of crookedness. And Carol faces criminal charges because of it? I'd say Cowherd, Lowther, and David Shuler -- not to mention Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott and his minions -- face a level of liability that is off the charts.

The relevant law can be found at RSMo 535.120, which reads:

Whenever one month's rent or more is in arrear from a tenant, the landlord, if he has a subsisting right by law to reenter for the nonpayment of such rent, may bring an action to recover the possession of the demised premises.

A parenthetical phrase in the statute makes it a bit fuzzy for lay readers. But its meaning becomes crystal clear when you consider language from House Bill 481, which ushered in the new provision in 2009:

(30) Changes when an eviction proceeding can commence from when the rent is six months in arrearage to when it is one month in arrearage (Section 535.120)

How about that? The wait used to be six months to begin eviction proceedings, suggesting public policy in Missouri was to give tenants a solid chance to fix rent problems before they were kicked to the curb. Given that many tenants have children, this seemed to be a humane policy for the Show-Me State. But Missouri's thuggish landlords apparently want to wipe any trace of humanity from the law books.

Has the landlord lobby paid for scores of dinners, prostitutes, and golf outings to get its way? I think you can count on it.

What about the timeline in our eviction? Here it is:

* July 31, 2015 -- Our rent is paid through this date.

* Aug. 5, 2015 -- Records at case.net (Case No. 1531-AC04535) show Craig Lowther filed a rent-and-possession petition, on Trent Cowherd's behalf, on this date. An R and P petition is one of two ways to start an eviction proceeding in Missouri. The other is called an unlawful detainer.

* Sept. 1, 2015 -- The date, under Missouri law, that eviction proceedings could begin -- if we were one month behind on rent, which we wouldn't have been.

* Sept. 9, 2015 -- We are evicted, and Carol's arm is broken by a Greene County deputy, even though the eviction was not even close to being timely, under the law.

How many ways can an eviction be unlawful? Give us a few more days, and we'll probably have six ways to Sunday. For now, we have these:

(1) Breach of contract -- Cowherd was trying to boot us because my mother wanted out as cosigner, and they claimed we had to qualify on our own to continue on a month-to-month basis. Our lease, however, contained no such provision, so Cowherd was violating his own contract.

(2) Eviction was unlawfully scheduled -- The Sept. 9 date was inside the 10-day window, from the date judgment was entered, when execution cannot take place.

(3) Eviction ignored our timely filed notice of appeal -- A notice of appeal, with proper payment of fees, puts a stay on eviction, under Missouri law. We filed our notice on Sept. 8 and notified all lawyers for parties in the case on that same day. The eviction was stayed, as a matter of law, but it took place the next day anyway.

(4) Eviction was unlawful because rent was not late for one month -- Eviction proceedings could not have started until Sept. 1, the date we would have been behind on rent by one month (although we would have timely paid if we had not been told we were being booted out regardless). Cowherd started eviction proceedings on Aug. 5, 25 days too early.

The eviction that left Carol with a broken arm, broken so badly that it required trauma surgery, has emitted a foul odor for months. The stench just got a whole lot worse.

What kind of thugs run the Trent Cowherd company? Real bad ones, it seems.


Anonymous said...

Boy, these Missouri thugs can give Alabama thugs a run for their money.

Anonymous said...

I assume the landlord can charge late fees, but he can't start eviction proceedings until rent is one month behind?

legalschnauzer said...

Right, @8:10, that's what my research indicates. I don't claim to be an expert across the board on Missouri landlord law. Obviously, our former landlord isn't either.

Anonymous said...

Whew, doesn't take much brainpower to be a landlord in Missouri, does it?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Mr. Apologist will appear soon to provide an excuse . . . I mean, an explanation, for all of this.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for easing my mind, @8:23. There is no Missouri screw up too big for Mr. Apologist.

Anonymous said...

How could a landlord and his lawyer be this stupid?

Anonymous said...

Geez, no wonder they threw criminal charges at Carol. When you do something this far outside the law, you have to find some way to cover it up.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure about the law on this?

legalschnauzer said...

You tell me, @9:36. I've cited the full law, so that anyone can read it. Is there something you find unclear about it?

Anonymous said...

@9:36 --

Is that you, Mr. Apologist?

Anonymous said...

Aboard the Eliza Battle the crew were enjoying some of Dr. Foreman's wine, when John and Thomas entered, each carrying a magazine. In chorus they said "Look what we found under the General's bunk." Eliza responded ," Well Bob! You ready to explain these to a 5 and 8 year old." Bob seeing the May 1995 "Playboy" in John's hands but only the back of a August 1977 book with a scratch and sniff Jack Daniel advertisement in Thomas' hands said, " I'll take Thomas and you go first. Eliza began, "Well John, this lady had just taken her bath and when she got in bed ,she forgot to take off her bedroom slippers that look like boots. John replied," these boots are not slippers, these boots are made for walking." Bob upon seeing Thomas's book said, "Curse you Flint".
Sheldon asked Admiral Tyron what he thought Mike would do next. The Admiral responded that the Alabama Attorney General would begin his case by going all the way back to the land thieves and build a case based on events to the present. Dr. Foreman asked why Shuler kept being evicted. The Admiral responded that Shuler's post made people mad. The Stranger in the Shadows injected that what Shuler did not write got him evicted. Sheldon asked him to please explain. The Stranger said Shuler's communications were being monitored and if he would go back and review who he was communicating with at the time, he will discover what subject the eviction was meant to disrupt.

Anonymous said...

That odor coming from the Midwest is the smell of a certain landlord soiling himself.

Anonymous said...

So it's spelled Cowherd?


Was almost confuzzled.

Someone might have once said something like

Best stay way way way away from them Misseri Cowfucks when you see them!

Anonymous said...

Was the alleged basis for Cowherd's eviction action your alleged failure to pay rent?

Anonymous said...

You try to evict a tenant when they aren't behind on rent for the prescribed time, not even close? Then, when you evict anyway, a cop breaks one of the tenants' arm? Then, some genius decides to bring criminal charges against the tenant whose arm was broken?

What a train wreck. It's like Herman Munster is in charge of all this.

I would say Mr. Cowturd and his lawyer, Mr. Loathsome, have problems on their hands.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:55 --

Yes, as the post states, they filed a rent and possession case, which means they alleged rent was late and they were due to have possession of the property returned to them via eviction.

Slight problem: Rent wasn't late by the one month prescribed by Missouri law. It was late five days.

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed to hear Missouri's thugs are competitive with Alabama's thugs. I always thought we had a special kind of thug here in the Heart of Dixie, one that was beyond compare.

legalschnauzer said...

I'm disappointed, too, @11:07. I always thought Alabama had a special kind of thug, the kind that could not be found anywhere else -- like a special state tree or state salamander.

Isn't there a song, "Thugs Fell on Alabama"? If not, there should be.

Anonymous said...

Didn't your Brilliant Lawyer Brother (BLB) write an ex parte letter to the judge, saying he was determined to make sure possession of the property was lawfully returned to Trent Cowturd?

Well, the property was not due to be returned to Trent Cowturd because you were not one month behind on rent, right? Should we just assume BLB had no clue what he was talking about when he wrote the letter? Is BLB just a dumb ass?

Why would anyone hire David Shuler, also known as BLB, to be their lawyer?

legalschnauzer said...

The answer to all of your questions, except the last one, is yes.

The answer to your last question is, "I have no idea why anyone would hire David Shuler as their lawyer. I'm his brother, and I sure as hell wouldn't hire him."

Anonymous said...

Trent Cowturd and his wife certainly aren't going to win any beauty contests. Maybe that's why they went into the landlord business.

legalschnauzer said...

For those who have forgotten, here are the contents of the letter David Shuler ("BLB") wrote to the judge in our eviction case:

Dear Judge Halford:
I am writing regarding the above referenced case. Roger Shuler is my brother who has been estranged from my family for approximately 25 years. Recently, a family friend helped him relocate to the Missouri area. Unfortunately, my 85 year old mother made the mistake of agreeing to co-sign a lease for Roger with Trent Cowherd Construction. She agreed to pay his moving expenses and his rent for thirteen months to help him get back on his feet. She never dreamed that Roger Shuler would then refuse to pay his rent and/or vacate the property.

My purpose in writing this letter is to let you know that I intend to appear on behalf of my mother. Gondolyn Shuler intends to cooperate with the Petititioner (Trent Cowherd) in the matter and assist in any way to help them regain possession of the rental property currently occupied by Mr. Shuler.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for re-posting that letter, LS. Man, my brain gets fried just reading it. So much stupidity in two paragraphs.

BLB says you refused to pay your rent or vacate the property. But your rent wasn't one month late, so you weren't due to vacate the property. Then he drags your elderly mother into it by saying she wants to assist in any way to help Trent Cowturd regain possession. But Trent Cowturd was not due to regain possession because your rent was not one month late.

Your mother actually listens to your potted plant of a brother? Does he have a radish in his cranium?

Anonymous said...

Might as well be blunt: Your brother is a despicable piece of shit.

Anonymous said...

The Show Me State? If you are a landlord in Missouri, I guess that means, "Show me how to pull my head out of my ass."

Anonymous said...

I appreciate comical comments as much as the next guy. But I hope people realize this isn't funny; it's very serious. Worst of all is this lawyer, Lowther, letting this case move forward when he knew no eviction case could be brought for another 25 days. If he didn't know that, he has no business being a lawyer.

The landlord should have know such simple law, too. And how the brother lawyer could write that letter to the judge . . . well, it makes me wonder about his fitness to practice law. Then, you have a sheriff, who is charged by law with overseeing evictions, and he is so clueless that he allows a deputy to break a tenant's arm -- and then he helps bring criminal charges against the victim of police brutality.

As you might guess, I've been in the legal field for almost 40 years, and I find this appalling. It's not a stretch to say people should go to prison for this. Certainly some bar cards should be forfeited.

One of the worst cases of legal abuse I've ever read about.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like BLB has the IQ of a BLT.

Anonymous said...

David Shuler sounds like the spoiled child who is overdue for a good spanking. Maybe revocation of his bar card will wake him up. Same for Mr. Loathsome.

legalschnauzer said...

Agreed, @12:27. I will be preparing bar complaints against both of them in next few days. Bar associations are notorious for protecting bad lawyers, at least in Alabama. I asked a knowledgeable person about the Missouri State Bar, and he said it is pretty bad, too. But regarding David's letter, he said the bar might do something about that. He said the letter itself is a problem, but the fact he put it in the record and did not serve other parties is an even bigger problem.

Anonymous said...

Your lease was over...terminating at the end of July. they required no reason at all to refuse to go month to month. That only happens if both parties are amenable...they gave you thirty days notice to quit. They don't have to rent to you month to month after your lease terminates, they don't need a good reason, although they had one.., you are unqualified torment the property without a co signer.

You probably could have negotiated another month, but you whipped out the crazy and combative card right away and burned your bridges.

Also you didn't pay your July rent according to statements you have made.

legalschnauzer said...

Mr. Apologist makes a late-night appearance. Not sure why I posted your nonsense garbage; I guess it's interesting to see how desperate you are to spin this. A point or two, and then I'm done with you:

(1) Don't know what "statements" you are referring to. But we had a 13-month lease which started in early July 2014, and our rent was paid through end of July 2015. That's fact.

(2) Cowherd filed a rent and possession claim, so they admitted that August rent was due. But they can't file such a claim, under Missouri law, until rent is one month late. They filed claim on Aug. 5, when rent was five days late. They violated state law, and it shows that almost every comment you've made on this matter is uninformed and wildly off target. That's fact.

You can't argue any of this, but you try anyway, which is pathetic. A suggestion: Go stick your head in the toilet.

legalschnauzer said...

A final point or two, then I promise, I'm done with you:

All of this means:

(1) Cowherd had no grounds to seek eviction when he did.

(2) The lawyer, Lowther, screwed this up as badly as something can be screwed up.

(3) The cops had no grounds to be on our property, under about four provisions of Missouri law.

(4) Carol's arm was broken, and we both were terrorized with firearms, by cops who had no grounds to be there -- at the request of a landlord who had no grounds to seek eviction, much less to actually evict.

Take your spin and shove it up your ass, you sick bastard.

Anonymous said...

If the rent was paid through July 31, why were you in the place August 1? If the rent wasn't paid, you should have been out. That would have been the honorable, honest thing for you to do. I've been a renter and a landlord. I've always kept my word and expected others to keep their word. This isn't about the owner or brother or judge. This is about you.

legalschnauzer said...

@12:15 --

If you are so honest and honorable, why don't you tell us who your are, your location, profession, etc. You've "always kept your word"? I doubt that, but ID yourself and let us decide if that's true.

Aside from that, you are an unreal dunderhead. A few points:

(1) Our rent was due by 5:30 p.m. on the first day of each month. We were in the place on Aug. 1 because our rent wasn't due yet. Idiot.

(2) We had a pending court case re: our tenancy. We weren't due to be out. Idiot.

(3) Eviction proceedings cannot begin until rent is late by one month. Late charges can be assessed, but eviction proceedings cannot begin. You clearly do not know the law -- and owner, brother, judge have no respect for the law. Idiot.

(4) Yes, this is about you -- you being an empty-headed moron. Idiot.

And here is a sure bet: You also are a pussy, too big a pussy to ID yourself. Of course, if I were as stupid as you are, I wouldn't ID myself either. But then, I wouldn't be leaving ignorant comments like this one, on subjects I know nothing about.

Why don't you take a javelin and jam it up your ass.