WILLIAM L. BURKHALTER, CYNTHIA A. BURKHALTER, and MATTHEW BURKHALTER, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
U.S. BANK, N.A., CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA, individually and as a Trustee of the LOUIS D. BURKHALTER JR. REVOCABLE TRUST, Defendants-Appellees.
from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Patrick R.
appeal from an order granting the defendant's motion for
partial summary judgment.
C. Riley of Tom Riley Law Firm, P.L.C., Cedar Rapids, for
Patrick M. Roby, Paula L. Roby, and Nicholas J. Kilburg
(until withdrawal) of Elderkin & Pirnie, P.L.C., Cedar
Rapids, for appellee U.S. Bank, N.A.
Considered by Mullins, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.
Burkhalter, Jr., established a revocable trust benefitting
his son, William. The trust named William's spouse,
Cynthia, and William's son, Matthew, as beneficiaries
after William's death. U.S. Bank, Cedar Rapids, served as
trustee. Shortly before Louis's death, he amended the
trust to add his son Steven as an additional beneficiary of
the trust. After Louis's death, William filed suit
against Steven and U.S. Bank to challenge the amendment
adding Steven as an additional beneficiary of the trust.
William alleged Louis lacked capacity to amend the trust and
Steven exerted undue influence on Louis. William eventually
dismissed U.S. Bank as a party. The matter was tried to a
jury, and the jury found against William on his claim for
undue influence. The jury's verdict was affirmed in
Burkhalter v. Burkhalter, 841 N.W.2d 93, 94 (Iowa
case arises out of the same general circumstances as the
first case. In the present proceeding, William, Cynthia, and
Matthew filed suit against U.S. Bank, claiming the bank
breached its fiduciary duty owed to them as beneficiaries of
the trust by permitting Louis to modify the trust agreement
when Louis was subject to Steven's undue influence. The
district court granted the bank's motion for summary
judgment based on the preclusive effect of the prior
proceeding. The plaintiffs claim the district court erred in
granting summary judgment because issue preclusion is
inapplicable under the facts and circumstances of this case.
review rulings that grant summary judgment for corrections of
errors at law." Luana Sav. Bank v. Pro-Build
Holdings, Inc., 856 N.W.2d 892, 895 (Iowa 2014) (citing
Parish v. Jumpking, Inc., 719 N.W.2d 540, 542 (Iowa
2006)). "Summary judgment is appropriate when there is
no genuine issue of material fact, and the burden of showing
the lack of a genuine issue is on the moving party."
Parish, 719 N.W.2d at 542-43 (citing Fischer v.
UNIPAC Serv. Corp., 519 N.W.2d 793, 796 (Iowa 1994)).
"A fact is material if it will affect the outcome of the
suit, given applicable law." Id. (citing
Fischer, 519 N.W.2d at 796).
the elements of issue preclusion are satisfied is a question
of law." Grant v. Iowa Dep't of Human
Servs., 722 N.W.2d 169, 173 (Iowa 2006). To invoke issue
preclusion the invoking party must establish:
(1) the issue concluded must be identical; (2) the issue must
have been raised and litigated in the prior action; (3) the
issue must have been material and relevant to the disposition
of the prior action; and (4) the determination made of the
issue in the prior action must have been necessary and
essential to the resulting judgment.
Hunter v. City of Des Moines, 300 N.W.2d 121, 123
issue preclusion is invoked defensively, "the party
against whom the doctrine is invoked . . . '[must have
been] so connected in interest with one of the parties in the
former action as to have had a full and fair opportunity to
litigate the relevant claim or issue and be properly bound by
its resolution.'" Id. (quoting Bertran
v. Glen Falls Ins. Co., 232 N.W.2d 527, 533 (Iowa
1975)). Defensive use of issue preclusion is when "a
stranger to the judgment, ordinarily the defendant in the
second action, relies upon a former judgment as conclusively
establishing in his favor an issue which he must prove as an
element of his defense." Id.
the archetypal case in which issue preclusion applies. In the
prior suit, Matthew sued Steven to establish undue influence.
A jury found there was no undue influence, and the jury's
verdict was affirmed on appeal. Now, William has added his
spouse and son as additional plaintiffs and asserts the bank
is liable to them because it failed to prevent Steven's
undue influence, which a jury has already determined did not
occur. The fact that the spouse and son were not parties to
the prior suit is immaterial. The spouse and son's
interests in the litigation are derivative of William's
and are so connected in interest with William's that it
can be fairly said they have had a full and fair opportunity
to litigate the relevant claim or issue and be properly bound
by its resolution. We can add little to the thorough and
well-reasoned order of the district court granting the
defendant's motion for partial summary judgment and order
denying the plaintiff's motion to reconsider and/or
enlarge and amend. The district ...