IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF JERRY DEAN MOHR, DECEASED, JONATHON LANGERMAN, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Osceola County, Nancy L.
biological son of a decedent appeals after the probate court
overruled his motion to strike the amended report and
inventory filed by the administrator of the decedent's
estate removing the son from the list of "heirs at
law" on the report. AFFIRMED.
L. Sandy of Sandy Law Firm, Spirit Lake, for appellant.
Zachary S. Hindman of Mayne, Arneson, Hindman, Hisey &
Daane, Sioux City, for appellee Joan Mohr.
C. Cord III of Moore, Heffernan, Moeller, Johnson & Meis,
L.L.P., Sioux City, for appellee Pamela Mohr.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.
Mohr, a resident of Arizona, died intestate in August 2011.
At the time of his death, Jerry owned a one-half interest in
160 acres of farmland in Osceola County, Iowa. This land is
the subject of ancillary administration in Osceola
County. Based on the establishment of paternity in
Arizona, the Iowa estate's administrator, Joan Mohr,
Jerry's sister-in-law, filed a probate inventory listing
Jonathon Langerman as an heir to the Iowa estate.
Mohr, Jerry's surviving spouse, filed in Iowa district
court a petition for declaratory judgment seeking a
declaration that Jerry's biological son, Jonathon
Langerman, is not an heir within the meaning of Iowa Code
section 633.222 (2011). In 2014, this court affirmed the
district court's ruling denying the petition for
declaratory judgment. See Mohr v. Langerman, No.
13-1422, 2014 WL 5243364, at *1-3 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 15,
2014). Though we agreed with Pamela that section 633.222
requires proof of both paternity and recognition to establish
heirship, Pamela, as the petitioner seeking the declaration,
had the burden of proving the negative of either proposition
to prevail. See id. at *1-2, *4. Because an Arizona
court had already established Jerry is Langerman's
biological father, Pamela had to prove Jerry did not
recognize Langerman as his child. See id. at *3-4.
Because Pamela did not meet that burden, we affirmed the
denial of her declaratory-judgment petition. See id.
at *6-10. Pamela's application for further review was
denied by the Iowa Supreme Court.
the administrator of Jerry's estate filed a motion to
amend the estate's inventory seeking to delete Langerman
from the inventory. The administrator stated Langerman had
only been listed on the original inventory "to provide
notice" to him of the proceedings. The administrator
pointed out that neither this court nor the
declaratory-judgment court explicitly found that Langerman
is Jerry's heir; rather, it was only determined
that Pamela failed to prove Langerman is not an
heir. The administrator also noted Langerman's answers to
interrogatories stated he had no personal recollection of
seeing or speaking to Jerry. Because the original inventory
listing Langerman as an heir was not conclusive of the fact
Langerman is Jerry's heir, see Iowa Code §
633.367, and because there had been no explicit finding
Langerman is Jerry's heir in either the
declaratory-judgment action or in our opinion on appeal, the
administrator requested the court grant her motion to amend
to delete Langerman from the inventory. Resistances and
replies and other motions were made by the parties. Following
a hearing, the probate court granted the administrator's
motion. In its March 23, 2016 ruling, the court noted the
administrator's motion did not require the court to make
a final determination on the status of Langerman as an heir
entitled to take; instead, the motion merely required the
court to consider whether the administrator had adequate
justification to warrant amending the inventory. The court
found the proffered additional information from
Langerman's answers to interrogatories "adequate in
conjunction with all known facts and circumstances to justify
the removal of [the administrator's] designation of
Langerman as an heir." But the court also recognized
that Langerman was free to challenge the determination once
amendment was made.
filings by the parties followed. Specifically, Langerman
filed a motion to reconsider and a motion to stay pending
interlocutory appeal. The motion to reconsider was resisted.
The district court overruled the motion to reconsider and
sustained the motion to stay the proceedings.
meantime, the administrator filed the amended report and
inventory removing Langerman from the inventory's list of
heirs. Langerman then filed an objection to the amended
inventory. Langerman stated his "right to be listed in
the inventory has already been adjudicated and determined by
[the district court in its declaratory-judgment ruling] in
this matter and affirmed by the Court of Appeals, with the
Supreme Court denying review in the case" and argued the
administrator was "collaterally estopped from
relitigating these issues by filing and amended
inventory." He affirmatively stated he is Jerry's
biological son and was "recognized as such by his father
and, as such, is entitled to distributive rights to his
father's estate." He requested an evidentiary
hearing on the matter.
his motion to reconsider was denied, Langerman filed a motion
for ruling on his pending objections to the amended
inventory, a motion to strike the amended inventory, a motion
for evidentiary hearing, and a notice he was withdrawing his
request for stay of proceedings. On August 25, 2016, the
probate court entered its ruling overruling Langerman's
motion to strike, among other things. The court explained:
Having read the motions, the resistance, the reply to the
resistance and the objection, the court finds that the
pending motions filed by Langerman . . . have already been
presented to the court and argued in previous hearings and
rulings have been filed thereupon. The court has also
entertained and ruled upon Langerman's previously filed
motion to reconsider [the court's March 23, 2016 ruling,
which sustained the administrator's motion to amend the
estate's inventory]. Langerman's request of March 30,
2016 for a stay of these proceedings to appeal the
court's previous decision sustaining the amendment to the
inventory was granted with Langerman subsequently withdrawing
the request for stay and foregoing the appeal of the
court's decision regarding the prior motions. Now
Langerman attempts to renew before the court the issue of the
amendment to the inventory, which has been determined and
reconsidered after argument and opportunity of each party to
come before the court and fully present each party's
position. Langerman disagreed with the court's ...