from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica L.
appeals from the district court's grant of a directed
verdict against him in his action to foreclose a
mechanics' lien. AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN
A. Neuwoehner of Lange & Neuwoehner, Dubuque, for
M. Hess of Hammer Law Firm, P.L.C., Dubuque, for appellees
David and Julie Lott.
F. Henry of Fuerste, Carew, Juergens, & Sudmeier, P.C.,
Dubuque, for appellee Dubuque Bank and Trust.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Bower,
Nebel filed a petition to foreclose his mechanic's lien
on property owned by the Lotts, maintaining the Lotts owed
him $9283.69 for materials and labor he provided doing
electrical work on one of their rental properties. Following
a hearing on the petition, the district court granted the
defendants' motion for a directed verdict. On appeal,
Nebel maintains the district court applied the wrong statute
and, as a result, the defendants' motion for directed
verdict was improperly granted. Nebel also challenges the
district court's award of attorney fees to the
action to enforce a mechanic's lien is in equity and our
review is de novo." Giese Constr. Co. v. Randa,
524 N.W.2d 427, 430 (Iowa Ct. App. 1994); see also
Iowa Code § 572.26 (2011) ("An action to enforce a
mechanic's lien shall be by equitable proceedings, and no
other cause of action shall be joined therewith.").
"In mechanic's lien cases, involving as they do
numerous charges and counter charges which depend entirely on
the credibility of the parties, we have frequently held the
trial court is in a more advantageous position than we to put
credence where it belongs." Sulzberger Excavating,
Inc. v. Glass, 351 N.W.2d 188, 191-92 (Iowa Ct. App.
1984) (citation omitted).
the court found that Nebel had failed to comply with the
statute controlling the perfection of a mechanics lien,
pursuant to Iowa Code section 572.8 (2013), and thus
determined his petition to foreclose the lien failed.
However, it is undisputed the court applied the wrong
statute. Nebel filed his mechanic's lien in February
2012. In 2012, our legislature made a number of significant
changes to the controlling statutes, but those changes were
explicitly stated to take effect on January 1, 2013.
See 2012 Iowa Acts ch. 1105 §§ 4, 27.
Thus, Iowa Code section 572.8 (2011) controls here. That
1.A person shall perfect a mechanic's lien by filing with
the clerk of the district court of the county in which the
building, land, or improvement to be charged with the lien is
situated a verified statement of account of the demand due
the person, after allowing all credits, setting forth.
a. The date which such material was first furnished or labor
first performed, and the date on which the last of the
material was furnished or the last of the labor was
b. The legal description of the property to be
charged with the ...