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James W. Taylor, Tonya L. Taylor, Hans E. Taylor, and Taylor Recycling v. Timothy Hogan

April 24, 2013

JAMES W. TAYLOR, TONYA L. TAYLOR, HANS E. TAYLOR, AND TAYLOR RECYCLING FACILITY, L.L.C, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANTS,
v.
TIMOTHY HOGAN, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Donna L. Paulsen, Judge.

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

The plaintiffs appeal from the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant Timothy Hogan as to plaintiffs' professional negligence claim. AFFIRMED.

Heard by Doyle, P.J., and Danilson and Mullins, JJ.

The plaintiffs appeal from the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant Timothy Hogan as to plaintiffs' professional negligence claim. We affirm.

I. Scope and Standards of Review.

We review the district court's summary judgment ruling for the correction of errors at law. Mueller v. Wellmark, Inc., 818 N.W .2d 244, 253 (Iowa 2012). 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, 818 N.W.2d at 253. 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.

The facts of this case arise from a series of complicated business deals involving numerous individuals and business entities, many with similar names. For clarity, we will first identify the relevant individuals and entities from which the underlying litigation arose. These facts are undisputed. We then set forth the dispute and subsequent proceedings.

A. Initial Individuals and Entities Involved Prior to 2004. 1. Taylor Recycling Facility LLC and the Taylors.

Plaintiff Taylor Recycling Facility LLC ("NYTRF") is a limited liability company organized under the laws of New York, and has its principal place of business in New York. NYTRF is in the business of, among other things, converting construction and demolition debris into a product usable by landfills as daily cover for waste. The remaining plaintiffs are James Taylor, Tonya Taylor, and Hans Taylor, all New York residents (collectively "the Taylors"). The Taylors are members of TRFNY.

2. Timothy Hogan.

Defendant Timothy Hogan is a resident of Iowa. He is an attorney, and he is licensed to practice law in Iowa. He practices primarily in real estate development and commercial transaction work.

3. Scott Street Properties, L.C.

Scott Street Properties, L.C. ("SSP"), an Iowa limited liability company, was formed by defendant Tim Hogan in April 2003, and its principal place of business was in Iowa. The original owners of SSP named in article 4.2 of its operating agreement included, in relevant part, Westwood Partners, L.C., an Iowa limited liability company, the sole member of which is Iowa resident Robert Myers. Hogan was not an owner of SSP.

The primary asset of SSP was a parcel of land located in Iowa upon which a waste disposal business, Metro C&D Recyclers, L.C. ("Metro"), operated. Metro, a limited liability company, was formed by Hogan in spring 2003. Metro leased the property from SSP, and SSP acted as Metro's landlord.

In 2004, ownership of SSP changed, discussed in greater detail below, wherein the existing original owners decreased their percentage of ownership of the company to an aggregate of 50%, and NYTRF purchased the remaining 50%. SSP was administratively dissolved in August 2008 pursuant to Iowa Code sections 490A.1320(1) and .1321 (2007).

B. New Entities Involved After 2004. 1. Taylor Recycling Facility of Iowa, LLC.

At some point, the Taylors became interested in investing in Metro and SSP. To that end, the Taylors and Robert Myers, along with other individuals not relevant here, agreed to the following arrangement concerning their respective entities. In March 2004, NYTRF purchased a 50% share of SSP, and the original SSP members, including Westwood, retained the aggregate of the remaining 50%. Additionally, Metro subsequently became Taylor Recycling Facility of Iowa, LLC ("IATRF"), a Iowa limited liability company formed in March 2004 by defendant Tim Hogan for the purpose of operating the recycling facility ...


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