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.

Thompson v. JTTR Enviro, L.L.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 19, 2017

TOMMY THOMPSON, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JTTR ENVIRO, L.L.C., Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Jeffrey L. Poulson, Judge.

         JTTR Enviro, L.L.C. appeals a bench trial verdict in favor of Tommy Thompson arising from a manure easement agreement.

          Jeff W. Wright and Jacob V. Kline of Heidman Law Firm, L.L.P., Sioux City, for appellant.

          Chad C. Thompson of Thompson, Phipps & Thompson L.L.P., Kingsley, for appellee.

          Heard by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.

          MULLINS, Judge.

         JTTR Enviro, L.L.C. appeals a bench trial verdict in favor of Tommy Thompson arising from a manure easement agreement (MEA). JTTR claims the district court (1) improperly imposed a burden upon it, as the grantee of the MEA; (2)improperly increased the burden placed on JTTR under the MEA; (3)improperly interpreted the MEA to contemplate a corn-on-corn rotation; and (4)awarded excessive damages. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         The facts of this case are generally not in dispute and aptly summarized by the district court:

In the spring of 2012, Tommy Thompson purchased approximately 146 acres of farmland from Ricke W. and Marian T. Langel. The Langels retained a 10.25 acre parcel upon which a hog farrowing facility was located. . . .
The unrecorded real estate contract between Thompson and the Langels provided that Thompson would give the Langels a permanent easement on the 146 acres and a separate manure easement would be created at closing. The contract recited that the Langels or the existing swine facility would place manure on the 146 acres. If [the] Langels or the existing swine facility used the easement, Thompson would pay all pumping and application costs. The contract provided that Thompson would receive enough manure to cover the 146 acres and any additional manure generated by the facility would be made available to Thompson at market price.[1]
As agreed to in the real estate contract, a manure easement was drafted, signed, and recorded on May 24, 2012. The easement agreement noted that [the] Langels desired the agreement as a means of applying manure and other animal waste generated from the hog facility on Thompson's farmland. The agreement also noted that Thompson would receive the benefit of reduced costs and expenses with regard to fertilizer application. . . .
The easement agreement grants to [the] Langels the right to apply manure and other animal waste generated by the hog facility on Thompson's 146 acres. The agreement is permanent and runs with the land and is binding upon successors and interest.
Under the agreement, Thompson is solely responsible for all costs associated with the application of manure and animal waste on the 146 acres. . . . Application should be permitted after crops are harvested in the fall of any calendar year and up until the time of planting the following spring.
. . . . The agreement provided that the hog facility was currently empty and that in the event the facilities are filled and the need to empty the pits and lagoons of manure arises, Thompson shall be allowed as much manure as needed to cover the 146 acres. If there is excess manure, Thompson may purchase that manure at the then market price.
Thompson is responsible for application of manure in compliance with applicable law or regulations, including [the] Langels' manure management plan. . . .
In August of 2012, the 10.25 acre and associated hog facility was sold by the Langels to JTTR Enviro, LLC. . . . Following the purchase, JTTR dramatically remodeled the hog facility and rebuilt it into a hog finishing facility. The building exterior and the [manure] pit remain unchanged, but the building's interior is new and entirely different.
The facility was placed in production during the spring of 2013. In the fall of 2013, it became necessary to empty the pit. Thompson demanded enough manure to apply on his entire 146 acre parcel consistent with the [MEA].[2]
JTTR filed a manure management plan which provides that Thompson would maintain a corn-soybean rotation. Because of the nitrogen credit associated with raising soybeans, no manure would be applied in bean years. Because of [t]his, JTTR demanded that either the manure be applied every other year or that 73 acres of manure would be provided annually. Thompson accepted 73 acres of manure in the fall of 2013. He has received no further manure since the fall of 2013.

         In May 2014, Thompson filed suit, alleging JTTR breached the MEA. A bench trial was held in July 2016. In August 2016, the district court returned a verdict in favor of Thompson, awarding damages in the amount of $70, 433.93 plus $15, 451.81 in attorney fees. JTTR filed a motion for new trial and motion to enlarge or amend findings of fact and conclusions of law, which Thompson resisted and the district court denied. JTTR appeals.

         II. Standard and ...


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.