Brown v. Bennett

136 S.W.3d 552 (2004)

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Brown v. Bennett

Missouri Court of Appeals
136 S.W.3d 552 (2004)

Facts

Brent Bennett (defendant) and Angela Bennett (defendant), who were in the home construction business, sold their personal home to Wanda Brown (plaintiff) after representing to her that the home was free from defects, including flooding or grading problems. In reality, due to flawed grading, the home’s backyard was prone to extensive flooding and the Bennetts had complained to the city about the problem. Several weeks after Brown moved into the home, she discovered the flooding problem. The flooding caused pooling in the yard that prevented her from planting a flower garden, impeded her ability to mow the lawn, and made it impossible for Brown’s young relatives to play in the yard. Brown sued the Bennetts for fraud. At trial, testimony showed that the home was worth $140,000 in its current condition but would be worth $163,000 if the flooding problem were resolved. The court received conflicting evidence concerning the cost to repair the problem. Brent testified that regrading would fix the problem for $220. An engineer hired by Brown testified that more extensive repairs would be required at a cost of $17,825. Rather than award Brown the diminution in the property’s value, the trial court awarded repair costs totaling $17,825. The Bennetts appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lowenstein, J.)

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