|Trent Cowherd and his wife, Sharon|
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.