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Couple wins payments for lake house deal gone wrong

A Lee’s Summit couple who sued a Ray County duo in regard to a withdrawn deal to buy a Lake of the Ozarks vacation home won a $95,000 judgment — along with the lakeside home.

According to the suit, Joseph and Trish McNamara signed a contract in October 2017 to purchase the Morgan County property for $250,000 and provided a $50,000 down payment. But 40 days later at closing, defendant Brett Marshall of Richmond, Missouri, refused, said plaintiff’s attorney Randall Cain.

Circuit Judge Janet Sutton granted a temporary restraining order in December 2017 preventing Marshall from conveying or encumbering the disputed property, followed by a May 2018 ruling for the plaintiffs.

But after the latter hearing, Marshall provided McNamara with a $150,000 deed of trust signed to his live-in girlfriend, third-party defendant Roberta Brown. The deed had been recorded one day after the initial trial six months earlier.

“As soon as they saw a case was filed, they jumped to encumber the property,” Cain said.

The breach-of-contract suit was then amended to include a request for injunctive relief for set-aside of fraudulent conveyance and civil conspiracy. Brown unsuccessfully attempted to foreclose on the deed in October 2018 before the court intervened, Cain said.

After a one-day bench trial in July 2019, Sutton ruled that the deed of trust had been fraudulently conveyed to Brown by Marshall, awarding the plaintiffs $25,000 in compensatory damages; $50,000 in punitive damages, the down payment value; and $20,000 for legal fees.

Attorneys for the two defendants did not respond to several requests for comment. Cain said his client and Marshall “knew each other very well” and had a “business and family relationship for years” prior to the disputed purchase.

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Contracts (real estate dispute)

Breakdown: $25,000 in compensatory damages, $20,000 in attorney fees, $50,000 in punitive damages

Venue: Clay County Circuit Court

Case Number/Date: 17CY-CV11635/July 8, 2019

Judge: Janet Sutton

Caption: Joseph and Tricia McNamara v. Brett Marshall and Roberta Brown

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Randall W. Cain and Karen Cain, Cain & Cain, Lee’s Summit

Defendants’ Attorneys: Joseph DeCuyper Jr., Liberty (for Marshall); Gary Collins, Kansas City (for Brown)