Error at Recorder's office caused wrong land to be sold, suit claims

By Kelly Holleran | Feb 19, 2009

A Missouri resident claims an erroneous record filed at the Madison County Recorder of Deeds office has caused a lawsuit to be filed against him.

James L. Combs claims that until April 1991 he owned a chunk of land that was more than 10 acres.

That land was defined as one parcel of land until April 1991 when Combs sold a 1.28- and .99-acre section of the land to Sanford Brown Business College, but kept the remaining 9.52 acres, according to the complaint filed Feb. 13 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Combs' sale of the land divided it into three separate parcels, the suit states.

Later, on July 30, 2004, the 1.28- and .99-acres of land was sold back to Combs, the suit states.

On Oct. 25, 2004, Combs decided to sell the 9.52 acres of land he owned to Raymond J. Swedo, he claims.

However, the legal description of the land was incorrect when the transaction was concluded. Instead of including only the 9.52 acres of land, the description included the more than 10 acres of land Combs owned, according to the suit.

Swedo then sold the incorrect amount of land to Ankit Amrut Patel, the suit states.

Combs claims the problem was solved and a General Warranty Deed to Patel was re-recorded on Jan. 31, 2005.

Later, on Nov. 28, 2007, Combs sold the remaining approximately two acres to Rivers of Life Community Church, according to the complaint.

However, Patel is now claiming possession to the 1.28 acres of land Combs tried to sell the church, the suit states.

As a result, the church filed a lawsuit on Dec. 5, 2007, against Patel and Combs seeking rescission of the contract and damages, Combs claims.

"Defendants Swedo and Patel have breached the Swedo Real Estate Sales Contract with Plaintiff, in that they have claimed title to a parcel of real estate that was not part of the Swedo Real Estate Sale Contract," the suit states.

Combs claims Swedo, Patel, Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company and Community Title and Escrow participated in a common scheme to have Kevin Twellman, an employee of Commonwealth, prepare the affidavit to change to correct legal descriptions to erroneous descriptions.

In the five-count suit, Combs is asking the court to correct the legal descriptions in the deed and is seeking a judgment in excess of $150,000, plus attorneys' fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Joel P. Green, Lori E. DaCosse and Catherine Vale Jochens of Moser and Marsalek in O'Fallon will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-0116.

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