Monday, August 21, 2017

Newly discovered court document indicates that David Shuler, my attorney/brother in Missouri, has decent knowledge of the law, but sadly, he's an evil prick

David Shuler
The actions over the past two to three years of my lawyer/brother, David Shuler, raise a perplexing question: Is he (A) A marginal or buffoonish lawyer; or (B) An evil prick?

We recently discovered a document that suggests the answer is (B). That's disturbing, especially when you consider that I once held David in brotherly, high esteem. But 17 years of legal travails have taught me that sometimes you have to reach harsh conclusions in life, ones you would rather not reach. This seems to be one of those occasions, where truth can't be ignored.

Ever since Carol and I made the mistake of moving to Springfield, Missouri, under duress in summer 2014, David has uttered numerous comments that made me wonder if he knew squat about the law. (See here, here, and here.) Heck, at times, it seemed as if I was the lawyer in the family.

Via multiple communiques in summer 2015, David essentially sent me this message: "You are about to be evicted, and I see nothing unlawful about it." Given that I, a non-lawyer, knew of at least four grounds upon which it was unlawful, I was left to think, "Gee, my brother's dumb as a stump when it comes to knowledge of tenant-landlord law."

Consider the following portion of an e-mail from David, dated 8/11/15, involving a guy named Daniel Smith, who apparently was a housing specialist with some state or local agency:

Just FYI, your landlord has posted notice on your door because you will not answer the door. They are also serving Mom and suing her because she was willing to be a co-signor on your lease. It is my understanding that you have a court date on 8/25. If you aren't able to pay the rent, your landlord can have you forcibly removed from the premises. I don't want to see that happen.

Roger, I am asking you to speak with Dan Smith. I think he can prevent all of the ugliness and upsetting things that are about to happen to you and Carol. Please call him or talk to him if he comes to your door.

I'm not sure if Dan Smith ever came to our door. But I was more interested in the information in yellow above. David says that he knew "ugliness and upsetting things" were about to happen to Carol and me, and he gave no indication he saw anything improper about that. That told me that he considered the impending "ugliness" to be lawful.

Well, we now know that David knew the planned eviction was unlawful, and he chose to do nothing about it -- he didn't even have the decency to mention a key provision of Missouri tenant/landlord law, an item with which I was unfamiliar at the time.

We're talking about RSMo 535.120, which reads as follows:

Whenever one month's rent or more is in arrears 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.

Let's back up for a moment and consider this e-mail from David, dated 6/2/15:

Mom asked me to contact you regarding the lease on your duplex. She said she tried to talk to you about it when she recently stopped by to visit, but was unable to do so. She talked to the people at Cowherd Construction and they are willing to extend your lease without a co-signor in that the rent has always been paid in full and on time. The lady suggested that you meet Mom at their office on 6/29 and they would allow you to execute a new lease. This lease would be in your name and would be your responsibility. I do not know if they would require Carol to be on the lease. I would think that they would also want her to sign since she would be living there. I also do not know how they would handle the deposit and pet deposit since those were paid by Mom.

Mom will make the last rent payment on 6/29 which will cover the month of July. You have the option to renew and stay there or of course, you could vacate and pick some place else to live.

This provides two key pieces of information, highlighted in yellow. In the first, David seems to be playing dumb, taking sides with a corrupt landlord over his own brother and sister-in-law. In the second, David confirms key information that helps show he knows the impending eviction is unlawful.

Regarding the first item, David conveniently ignores that I already had a lease in my name, it was due to go month to month, and it was to be the responsibility of Carol and me. There was nothing in the rental agreement that even hinted that we were due to execute a new lease, which would have tied us to Missouri for at least another 13 months.

As for the second item, David confirms that our rent had been paid through July 2015, so we were due to pick up payments on August 1, as the lease went month-to-month.

Now, back to RSMo 535.120. At the time, I thought maybe David was ignorant of its holding that eviction proceedings cannot begin until a tenant is behind on rent by at least one month. But it's now clear that's not the case. How do I know?

On May 19, 2017, David and his wife, Gina Hayes Shuler, filed a Rent and Possession Petition (R and P) against William Earl Snow Jr., a tenant in property they own at 2001 N. Boonville in Springfield. (See, No. 1731-AC03525.) The petition seeks payment of back rent and possession of the premises -- and here is revelatory language from the document:

3. Defendant [Snow] entered into a rent agreement with Plaintiffs in which Defendant was to pay rent in the amount of Three Hundred Fifty Dollars and no/100 ($350.00) per month from approximately February 7, 2013, payable the third day of each month. 
4. Defendant has failed to make said monthly rental payments in the full amount due and owing in a timely period since March 2017, as agreed upon by the Plaintiffs and Defendant. Plaintiffs have made due demand of the Defendant to pay said sum on a timely basis, and Defendant has wholly failed, refused, and neglected to do same.

This claims Mr. Snow had not paid rent -- at least in the full amount, on a timely basis -- since March 3, 2017. That David and Gina Shuler waited until May 19, 2017, to initiate eviction proceedings indicates they know Missouri law on the matter -- that a tenant must be in arrears by at least one month before a landlord can seek to recover possession of the premises. (The petition is embedded at the end of this post.)

What does this say about my communications with David regarding our rental situation. It means he knew that eviction proceedings begun on August 5, 2015 -- when our rent was only five days late -- were unlawful. He knew all the "ugliness and upsetting things" that were about to happen to Carol and me could not happen, under the law. But he said nothing.

Someone with a modicum of integrity might have said, "Roger, I don't know about some of the grounds upon which you think this planned eviction is unlawful. But I can tell you for sure that the landlord, Cowherd, is violating Missouri law by initiating these proceedings while your rent is not even close to being one month late. I'm not in a position to handle a case such as yours, but I can refer you to RSMo 535.120, which will tell you all you need to know. You can contest the eviction yourself, or I might be able to refer you to a local attorney who works in that area of the law."

How hard would that have been? It would have been easy, but David Shuler lacks that kind of integrity. Most evil pricks do.


Anonymous said...

If David waited more than 30 days before filing his own rent-and-possession case, it sure suggests he knows the Missouri law on that issue.

Anonymous said...

What a sorry excuse for a brother.

Anonymous said...

why didn't you just pay your rent on time each month? you were serially-delinquent. take some ownership of your own problems, dude.

Anonymous said...

I guess the law doesn't apply to you.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:24 --

I assume you must be illiterate, since the post states (and my brother admits) that our rent was always paid on time. Are you too stupid or too lazy to read (or both)? Take ownership of your ignorance, dumb ass.

Anonymous said...

So your brother knew "ugliness and upsetting things" were about to happen to you and Carol, and he knew all of it was against the law, and he let it happen anyway -- even tried to terrorize the two of you about it. I'd say calling him an "evil prick" is being kind.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that Missouri law requires rent be late by 30 days before evictions can proceed. I wonder if other states have similar laws. I wonder how many tenants wrongfully get evicted because landlords ignore such laws.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:41 --

Good questions. I don't know the answers for sure, but I'm guessing all states have similar laws, at least if the landlord is moving for eviction based on non-payment or late payment of rent. I further would guess that lots of tenants get wrongfully evicted by landlords who ignore the law. Our eviction was unlawful on at least 5-6 grounds.

I do know this: The law in Missouri, until a few years ago, was that eviction proceedings could not begin until rent was at least six months late. I forget what year that was changed to one month -- I think it was 2011 -- but that shows you two things, in my view: (1) Officials once used to realize the serious nature of eviction -- children being made homeless in many cases, etc. -- and allowed an extended period of time for corrective measures; (2) Landlords are a powerful lobby in Missouri (and probably other states) and many legislators no longer give a crap about throwing families out on the streets. Many of these legislators are "pro family" Republicans, natch.

Loss of a job probably is the No. 1 cause of eviction, and reasonable "leaders" should understand it often is not possible to find a comparable new job in 30 days or less.

Anonymous said...

Your brother has a duty under bar rules to report any wrongdoing by other lawyers. He clearly knew the landlord's lawyer was acting outside the law, but he did nothing about it. In following this story, I see multiple grounds upon which your brother should be separated from his bar card. Perhaps that would help adjust his view of what it means to be a lawyer. Right now, he seems to have no clue.

Anonymous said...

So, who exactly was paying your rent on time?

legalschnauzer said...

@12:51 --

You are admitting it was paid on time? Why did you earlier state it was serially late?

Are you a serial liar?

Anonymous said...

@12:51 --

If the rent was paid on time, what difference does it make if the tooth fairy paid it. If it's paid, the landlord shouldn't have a problem, right? So what's your beef?

Anonymous said...

12:51 is just trying to change the subject. The subject is this: Missouri landlords cannot begin eviction proceedings until rent is 30 days late.

My question for 12:51 -- Did the landlord in this instance follow Missouri law?

Anonymous said...

Nice to know that Attorney Shuler has such deep respect for equal protection under the law. It applies to him and his own tenants, but it doesn't apply to his brother and sister-in-law?

Evil prick, stand up and be counted.

Anonymous said...

You still can't seem to understand your mother unilaterally pulling out of the lease, ended the lease entirely. You could have renewed the lease, and chose not to (you did not want to be bound, or so you have said.)

Month to month is not possible to demand as a right when the lease is terminated by a party to the lease, and you failed to make any payment that would bind the landlord to month to month. In the even of the latter, that sort of lease can be terminated without cause in your state.

You did yourself no favors hiding and denying reality, and in fact made things as bad as they could possibly get.

Your brother's main interest was your mother, but he was trying to warn and help you.
You should have taken his advice.

legalschnauzer said...

@4:12 --

Nice try. Let's see if you can point to anything in the lease, or Missouri law, that supports your claims. I'll be happy to wait. I suspect you will just continue to pull stuff out of your ass, but I'm a patient man. I'll see if you can come up with anything legit.

Anonymous said...

@4:12 --

Why don't you address the question I posed at 2:20. Did the landlord in this case, Trent Cowherd, follow Missouri law and wait until rent was late 30 days before initiating a rent and possession/eviction case. The answer is either yes or no -- real simple.

That's the basic question raised in this post, and you seem to avoid that question at all cost. Hmmm . . .

Anonymous said...

Schnauzer, you don't even post all questions posed to you. Was the landlord required to allow you to stay beyond the initial term of the lease?

legalschnauzer said...

@8:09 --

The landlord was required to abide by the lease, as was I. I did abide by the lease and landlord Cowherd did not -- as I've reported here multiple times -- even though he (or someone on his staff) wrote it. If you had followed this blog, and the facts of the case, you wouldn't have to ask that question.

Why don't you answer the question posed @7:10 above, or the question I posed @7:01. And I will pose another question or two for you: Did the landlord follow state law and did he have a judge-approved eviction order before having cops enter our home and wind up breaking my wife's arm? Was the landlord aware that only an interlocutory (non-final) order had been entered in the case, with a hearing on additional issues set for 10/1/15, meaning no court-authorized order could have been issued?

e.a.f. said...

some times people are so filled with hate, spit, greed they can not see straight. They think they're correct as a means to their own ends. of course it usually ends with their end. ah, you never really know your family until money is involved and in some families there is always some one who will never have enough and can justify anything and everything to get their hands on the family money.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the landlord and sheriff did not follow the law on evictions in MO. Set that aside for a moment. Assuming no eviction action was ever filed, was the landlord obligated to let you stay in the duplex beyond the initial term of the lease?

legalschnauzer said...

@11:47 --

Since I've already answered your question, not only in the comments but in multiple posts, let me ask you a question: Was the landlord obligated to follow the terms of the lease? Did the landlord follow the terms of the lease?

Anonymous said...

The landlord had no obligation to continue leasing to you after the initial term of the lease.

legalschnauzer said...

@3:12 --

You didn't answer my question. That's because you know the answer, and it doesn't fit your agenda -- which means you are dishonest and corrupt to the core.

legalschnauzer said...

BTW --

Thanks for admitting the landlord and sheriff did not follow the law on evictions in Missouri. They also violated federal civil-rights law, and they committed crimes in the process.

legalschnauzer said...

Another thought:

Records show attorney Craig Lowther orchestrated the whole thing, so I assume you admit he also did not follow Missouri law on evictions. Funny that you admit the sheriff and landlord violated the law, but you left out "the lawyer," Lowther. Maybe that's because you ARE Lowther? Hah! Are you trying to leave Cowherd and Arnott out to dry? Hah! Hah!

While we're at it, I assume you admit there was no judge-signed court order on the eviction -- there couldn't be based on an interlocutory (non-final) judgment. So you surely admit that Cowherd, Arnott, and Lowther took the law into their own hands? How often have the "Three Stooges" pulled such unlawful stunts on unsuspecting tenants? Maybe there is grounds for a federal class action against these crooks?

What do you think? Wouldn't that be fun, along with criminal charges, both federal and state.

I'm starting to like the sound of this. So glad you commented.

Anonymous said...

Of all your brother's crimes, that goatee might be the worst.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:47 --

Hah! Great comment, made me LOL. Isn't that thing hideous? I've used a more recent photo several times, but I keep the "goatee" one in storage to bring out every now in then -- to shock my readers, sort of like the shower scene from "Psycho." I'm sure David doesn't like my blog, but since he's playing a starring role, I think it's inspired him to spruce things up a little. I don't think he looks quite so hideous at the moment.