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Real estate contract found unenforceable

Court finds undue influence in sale of farmland

Anne C. Vitale//October 25, 2009

Real estate contract found unenforceable

Court finds undue influence in sale of farmland

Anne C. Vitale//October 25, 2009

A judge in Texas County refused to enforce a real estate sales contract based on claims that the elderly seller was unduly influenced to sell a 1,200-acre farm below market value.

Glendora Martin, a disabled and widowed 81-year-old woman who resides in a retirement home, owns several farms in and around Texas County. John and Kaye Jordan, neighbors of Martin, claimed they negotiated with Martin in 2007 to purchase about 1,200 acres of Martin’s farmland adjacent to the Jordan’s property in Houston, Mo.

There was considerable debate about exactly how many acres were involved in the sale, Springfield attorney Douglas D. Lee said. Thus, the parties referred to the purchase price as $1,000 per acre.

Lee represented Freddie Adey, Martin’s 58-year-old nephew who previously managed the farm and was appointed by the court to serve as Martin’s conservator ad litem for the pending contract. Adey alleged that Billy Brown, another nephew of Martin, and Bob Lynch, an acquaintance of Martin, unduly influenced Martin into severing her longstanding relationship with Adey and selling the entire farm to the Jordans at substantially below the market value of $1,750 per acre. More than a dozen witnesses testified regarding the undue influence claim, Lee said.

Adey also claimed the contract for the sale of the farm was unenforceable because the legal description was incorrect and because the consideration required by the contract to purchase the farm had not been paid.

At trial, Adey further contended that if the contract was enforced, the below-market price would result in a windfall of $800,000 to $1 million to the Jordans. Additionally, he asserted that Martin did not need to sell the property for her care and support and that there were substantial tax reasons why Martin should not sell the property.

The Jordans and Martin contended the sale price was fair. Even if it was not, they claimed Martin wanted to sell the farm to the Jordans and should be able to do so. The Jordans and Martin further argued that the sale was in the best interests of Martin and her estate.

Following a three-day bench trial, Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge David Gregory Warren, assigned to hear the case in Texas County, denied a motion to enforce the real estate contract. Martin had filed the motion, said William H. Thomas Jr., a Rolla attorney for the Jordans.

Specifically, the court found that the sale of the farm to the Jordans was not in Martin’s best interest and that Brown and Lynch had unduly influenced Martin to terminate Adey’s management and sell the farm.

The court further found that Martin did not possess the requisite mental capacity to execute the contract with the Jordans, and that the contract was not enforceable because there was no evidence that the consideration due had ever been paid to Martin.

The court authorized Martin’s conservator, Trust Co. of the Ozarks, to decide what to do with the farm.

Martin’s attorney, Lyndell N. Beard of West Plains, declined to comment on the judgment.



  • Plaintiff bench judgment
  • Real estate contract
  • Court: Texas County Circuit Court
  • Case Number/Date: 25P090600043/Sept. 9, 2009
  • Judge: David Gregory Warren
  • Plaintiff’s Experts: Jerry Glor, Springfield (real estate appraiser); Rick Muenks, Springfield (real estate appraiser)
  • Defendants’ Experts: Tom Thomason, St. James (real estate appraiser)
  • Special Damages: $800,000 to $1 million difference between negotiated sale price and market value
  • Caption: In Re the Matter of Glendora Martin, Disabled
  • Attorneys for Conservator Ad Litem: Joseph D. “Chip” Sheppard III and Douglas D. Lee, Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell & Brown, Springfield
  • Movants’ Attorneys: Lyndell N. Beard, Beard Law Firm, West Plains (for Martin); William H. Thomas Jr., Thomas, Birdsong, Mills & McBride, Rolla (for John and Kaye Jordan)

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