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John Krohn v. Mary Frazee

March 13, 2013

JOHN KROHN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
MARY FRAZEE, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jasper County, Randy V. Hefner, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Doyle, J.

John Krohn appeals from the district court's ruling in his declaratory judgment action finding the language in Florence Krohn's will was unambiguous. AFFIRMED.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ.

John Krohn appeals from the district court's ruling in his declaratory judgment action finding the language in Florence Krohn's will was unambiguous. We affirm.

I. Scope and Standards of Review.

This case was brought in equity, and, as John points out, we generally review equity cases de novo. Iowa R. App. P. 6.907. However, when an equity case is resolved on summary judgment, our review is for the correction of errors at law. Freedom Fin. Bank v. Estate of Boesen, 805 N.W.2d 802, 806 (Iowa 2011). Because this case was resolved on summary judgment, our review here is for the correction of errors at law, not de novo. See id.

Summary judgment is appropriate when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions on file, and affidavits show there is no genuine issue of material fact, and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Iowa R. Civ. P. 1.981(3); Mueller v. Wellmark, Inc., 818 N.W 2d 244, 253 (Iowa 2012). We review the record in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Mueller, 818 N.W.2d at 253.

II. Background Facts and Proceedings.

The following facts are undisputed. Florence Krohn is the mother of plaintiff John Krohn and defendant Mary Frazee. At some point in 2001, Florence sold John 160 acres of land in Jasper County for one dollar.

On December 26, 2001, Florence executed her last will and testament. At that time, Florence owned a remaining eighty acres of property in Jasper County. Florence's will states, in relevant parts:

ARTICLE III

I hereby bequeath to my daughter, [Mary], the following described real property [consisting of eighty acres]:

The North Fractional One-half of the Southwest Fractional One-quarter of Section 18, Township 79, Range 20, West of the 5th P.M., Jasper County, Iowa

This is to acknowledge that I have made bequests for my son, [John], during my life and have specifically, therefore, not provided a bequest to ...


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