from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joel D. Novak,
former tenant appeals the district court's denial of his
Raymond W. Sullins, West Des Moines, pro se appellant.
M. DeSmet, Assistant City Attorney, for intervening
defendant-appellee City of Des Moines.
J. Hellstern of Sullivan & Ward, P.C., West Des Moines,
for intervening defendant-appellee Safari II, L.L.C.
P.J., McDonald, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]
Sullins appeals the district court's denial of his
certiorari petitions, which challenged the legality of two
small claims actions. He raises a number of claims on appeal.
Because we conclude the district court correctly determined
it had no jurisdiction to review the petitions for writ of
certiorari involving the district associate court, res
judicata prevents Sullins from raising his claims against the
small claims courts, and the district court property denied
Sullins's motion for a new trial, we affirm the decision
of the district court.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
rented a commercial space from Safari II, L.L.C., for his
wood pallet business. Safari brought a forcible entry and
detainer (FED) action against Sullins in small claims court
after the City of Des Moines cited Safari, as the property
owner, for violation of the city zoning code. In the
citation, the City alleged the storage of the wood pallets on
the property did not conform to the zoning ordinance in
effect for the property. The FED petition alleged Sullins
violated the terms of the lease agreement with Safari by
being in violation of the city ordinance. After a hearing on
the FED petition on September 8, 2015, the FED court filed a
written ruling that stated: "After careful review of the
lease, this court finds that defendants have violated
numerous terms of the lease[;] therefore[, ] defendants shall
be removed from the property."
ordinance violation proceeding between Safari and the City
was continued pending the resolution of the FED proceeding.
On September 22, 2015, Sullins filed a petition to intervene
in the ordinance violation proceeding, asserting he was the
"real party in interest as a party in possession
pursuant to a multi-year lease of the real estate premises
that are the subject of this action." The City resisted
the motion to intervene, and the court issued an order
denying the motion without a hearing on September 25, 2015.
Three days later, Sullins filed a second petition to
intervene in the ordinance violation proceeding. The
following day, the court ruled the "matter had been
previously ruled upon."
appealed both the FED decision and the denial of his petition
to intervene in the zoning ordinance proceeding to the
district associate court, which denied both appeals. In the
ordinance violation appeal, the district associate court
found the interests of Safari and Sullins were the same, so
Safari could adequately protect the interests of Sullins. The
court also noted, "No facts were presented to show that
Sullins did not violate the municipal ordinance." In the
FED appeal, the district associate court ruled,
"Reasonable evidence was presented [at the FED hearing]
to establish that there were violations of the Municipal
Code." Because a violation of the municipal code is a
violation of the lease agreement, it concluded the FED
court's ruling was "legally sufficient." The
district associate court concluded there was "a sound
factual basis for the Magistrate's determination that
[Sullins] violated the requirements of the lease and that the
FED was properly granted."
sought discretionary review of the district associate
court's denial of his appeal from the FED proceeding. The
supreme court denied discretionary review in November 2015.
There is no indication in this record that Sullins sought
discretionary review of the district associate court's
denial of his appeal from the ordinance violation proceeding.
Sullins filed certiorari petitions in the district court,
challenging the small claims courts' rulings in the FED
proceeding and the zoning ordinance proceeding and also
challenging the district associate court's appeal
decisions in both of those cases. Safari defended the small
claims court decisions and district associate court
decisions, and the district court permitted the City to
intervene. All matters were consolidated by the district
court, and at the hearing on the petitions, the district
court permitted Sullins's motion to amend his petitions
to include an allegation that the decisions of the lower
courts should be vacated based on irregularities.
See Iowa R. Civ. P. 1.1012(2).
district court issued a written ruling that denied
Sullins's claims. The district court noted it had no
jurisdiction over certiorari petitions filed in reference to
district associate court decisions; those must be filed in
the supreme court. See Iowa R. App. P. 6.107. It
also rejected Sullins's claims ...