Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

City of Monroe v. Nicol

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 3, 2017

CITY OF MONROE, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DUSTIN M. NICOL and MICHELLE R. STREET, Defendants-Appellants.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jasper County, Terry R. Rickers, Judge.

         Dustin Nicol and Michelle Street appeal the order awarding title to their property to the City of Monroe pursuant to Iowa Code section 657A.10');">657A.10A(5) (2016). AFFIRMED.

          Roger J. Hudson II of R.J. Hudson Law Firm, P.C. West Des Moines, and Justin Anthony Montello of J Montello Law P.L.L.C., West Des Moines, for appellants.

          Gilbert R. Caldwell III of Caldwell, Brierly, Chalupa & Nuzum, P.L.L.C., Newton, for appellee.

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

          DOYLE, Judge.

         Dustin Nicol and Michelle Street appeal the order awarding title to their property, which the trial court deemed abandoned, to the City of Monroe (City) pursuant to Iowa Code section 657A.10');">657A.10A(5) (2016). They challenge the statute, arguing it allows an unconstitutional taking of property without just compensation. Because the statute is a permissible exercise of police power rather than an unconstitutional taking, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The record is not crystal clear, but it appears Nicol and Street bought property in Monroe in 2011 or 2012. They took title by warranty deed in 2013. Beginning in May 2013, and over the two years that followed, the City sent them five letters regarding their failure to maintain the property. Nicol and Street failed to clean up the property, and in April 2015, the City filed municipal infractions against Nicol and Street, citing the couple for violating several ordinances regarding junk, vehicles, and garbage on the property. After a compliance hearing in August 2015, the court entered judgments against Nicol and Street assessing civil penalties and ordering them to fully abate the violations. They did not do so. Additionally, Nicol and Street have failed to pay property taxes on the property since purchasing it. No utilities have been in use at the property since June 2015.

         In January 2016, the City petitioned for title to Nicol and Street's property, alleging it was abandoned within the meaning of section 657A.10');">657A.10A(3). Nicol and Street moved to dismiss the action on the ground the statute is unconstitutional. Specifically, they argued chapter 657A allows the taking of private property for a public purpose without just compensation to the owner. The court denied the motion, finding chapter 657A is a legitimate exercise of police powers and does not violate the Federal or Iowa Constitutions. At the conclusion of a bench trial, the court found the property met the definition of abandoned under chapter 657A and entered an order awarding its title to the City.

         Nicol and Street appeal.[1]

         II. Scope and Standard of Review.

         Because the case was tried in equity, our review is de novo. See City of Waterloo v. Bainbridge, 749 N.W.2d 245, 247 (Iowa 2008). We also review constitutional issues de novo. See Bowers v. Polk Cty. Bd. of Supervisors, 638 N.W.2d 682, 688 (Iowa 2002).

         Statutes are presumed to be constitutional. See id. In order to rebut that presumption, Nicol and Street must show that the statute is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt. See id. In addition, they "must negate every reasonable basis ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.