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Mixdorf v. Mixdorf

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 7, 2017

JACK A. MIXDORF AND SHELIA K MIXDORF, GERALDINE R. JENNER, TRUSTEE OF THE GERALDINE R. JENNER REVOCABLE TRUST U/A DATED OCTOBER 15, 2003, ROLAND R. NEIL AND CHERYL A. NEIL, THOMAS LEE, KATHLEEN A. BOYD, AND PAUL NIEMANN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, Plaintiff-Appellees,
v.
JON A. MIXDORF, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Bremer County, James M. Drew, Judge.

         Jon Mixdorf appeals from the district court order resolving a boundary dispute with his neighbors. AFFIRMED.

          Samuel C. Anderson of Swisher & Cohrt, P.L.C., Waterloo, for appellant.

          Thomas C. Verhulst of Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman & Johnson, P.C., Waterloo, for appellees Jack Mixdorf, Sheila Mixdorf, and Geraldine Jenner.

          Patrick B. Dillon of Dillon Law, P.C., Sumner, for appellee Paul Neimann Construction Company.

          Heard by Vogel, P.J. and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.

          DOYLE, Judge.

         Jon Mixdorf appeals from the district court order resolving a boundary dispute with his neighbors.[1] He contends the district court erred in sustaining the actions to quiet title to two owners of western neighboring property and in determining the location of the northern boundary of his property. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the district court's order.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         The boundary dispute at issue involves Black Hawk County real estate once owned by Albert and Ruby Mixdorf. Before their deaths, Albert and Ruby deeded parcels of that real estate to their children as gifts.[2] They gifted Jack Mixdorf the land immediately north of the land they gifted to Geraldine (Jeri) Jenner. Jon was gifted the land to the immediate east of the land gifted to Jack and Jeri.

         Paul Niemann Construction Company (PNC) owns a quarry immediately north of Jon's property. In 2012, PNC removed an old fence that separated the properties in order to rebuild a berm. The following summer, without first obtaining a survey, Jon modified the farm lane that runs across the north end of his property and installed a deer fence and boundary fence along the boundaries of his property.

          In 2014, Jack, Jeri, and PNC were among the plaintiffs to file a petition to quiet title, alleging Jon had interfered with and encroached upon their property. Following a trial, the district court found Jon failed to prove his claims of adverse possession and boundary by acquiescence. It entered an order granting the petition to quiet title filed by Jack and Jeri and ordered Jon to remove the existing deer fence from their properties. The court denied PNC's petition to quiet title because it found Jon had established a boundary by acquiescence, but it ordered Jon to remove the farm lane to the extent it encroaches on PNC's property.

         II. Scope and Standard of Review.

         The standard of review for equitable proceedings, such as actions to quiet title by adverse possession, is de novo. See Albert v. Conger, 886 N.W.2d 877, 879 (Iowa 2016). By statute, our standard of review of an acquiescence claim is correction of errors at law. See id. However, because the parties appear to be in agreement that the claims were equitable and tried in equity, we will apply a de novo review. See id. We examine both the facts and the law and decide the issues anew but give weight to ...


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