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Van Wall Equipment, Inc. v. BC Steel Buildings, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

December 20, 2017

VAN WALL EQUIPMENT, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
BC STEEL BUILDINGS, INC., Defendant-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Poweshiek County, Lucy J. Gamon, Judge.

         Van Wall Equipment, Inc. appeals the district court's ruling granting summary judgment in favor of BC Steel Buildings, Inc.

          Anthony J. Kane of Pfefferle Kane L.L.P., Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Gary J. Shea of Gary J. Shea Law Offices, Cedar Rapids, for appellant.

          Clark I. Mitchell and Aaron W. Lindebak of Grefe & Sidney, P.L.C., Des Moines, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and McDonald, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         We must decide whether a negligence action against a manufacturer is barred by a fifteen-year statute of repose.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         BC Steel Buildings, Inc. manufactured pre-engineered metal buildings. BC delivered an unassembled building to a company in September 2000. That company, in turn, assembled the building on a site in Grinnell, Iowa, completing its work by March 2001. Van Wall Equipment, Inc. purchased the Grinnell property. The metal building on the property collapsed in December 2015.

         In January 2016, Van Wall sued BC for negligence in the design and manufacture of the building.[1] BC moved for summary judgment on the ground that the action was barred by the fifteen-year statute of repose set forth in Iowa Code section 614.1(11) (2016). The district court granted the motion. This appeal followed.

         II. Analysis

         Van Wall argues the statute of repose began to run only when the building "attached to the realty" in March 2001, and its lawsuit was filed within fifteen years of this "attachment" date. Our review of the district court's ruling is for errors of law. See McKee v. Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., 864 N.W.2d 518, 525 (Iowa 2015) (setting forth standard of review).

         Iowa Code section 614.1 (11) provided[2]:

[A]n action arising out of the unsafe or defective condition of an improvement to real property based on tort and implied warranty and for contribution and indemnity, and founded on injury to property . . . shall not be brought more than fifteen years after the date on which occurred the act or omission of the ...

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