MARK E. FINKEN, Plaintiff-Appellee,
DOUGLAS J. WEST, an individual, and ESTATE OF DOUGLAS M. WEST, Defendants-Appellees, and DOMINA LAW GROUP PC LLO, Intervenor-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Harrison County, Kathleen A.
intervenor challenges the denial of its petition to intervene
filed pursuant to Iowa Code section 639.60 (2016).
Christian T. Williams and Brian E. Jorde of Domina Law Group
P.C. L.L.O., Omaha, Nebraska, for appellant.
Matthew G. Sease of Kemp & Sease, Des Moines, for
appellee Estate of West.
by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
matter comes before the court on appeal from an interlocutory
order denying Domina Law Group's petition to intervene in
an auxiliary writ-of-attachment proceeding. The proceeding is
at law, see Markley v. Keeney, 54 N.W. 251, 251
(Iowa 1893), this court's review is for the correction of
relevant circumstances are as follows. In March 2016, Mark
Finken, a fifty percent owner of Western Marketing Associates
Corporation, sued the estate of Douglas West. West was
formerly Finken's business partner and fifty percent
owner of Western Marketing. Finken asserted two claims
against the estate: one claim for contribution on a joint
promissory note Finken and West delivered during the course
of operating Western Marketing; and one claim for conversion
of property. As an auxiliary proceeding to his suit, Finken
filed an application for prejudgment writ of attachment
pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 639 (2016). In the application,
Finken sought to garnish funds owed the estate as the result
of a judgment entered in favor of West in a prior suit in
which West sought judicial dissolution of Western Marketing.
The district court granted Finken's application for
prejudgment writ of attachment and ordered funds in the
amount of $46, 591.10 and future quarterly installments in
the amount of $25, 758.60 to be paid into the district court
as security for the prejudgment writ of attachment.
Finken filed his application for prejudgment writ of
attachment, Domina Law Group filed its petition to intervene
in the attachment proceeding pursuant to Iowa Code section
639.60. Domina represented West in the prior suit against
Western Marketing. Domina claimed a priority interest in the
attached judgment proceeds by way of an attorney's fee
lien filed pursuant to Iowa Code section 602.10116.
petition for intervention came on for a scheduling hearing in
September 2016. At the hearing, Domina Law Group introduced
into evidence the affidavit of Brian Jorde in support of the
petition to intervene. The affidavit was supported with
attachments establishing the judgment in the prior
proceeding, the notice of attorney's lien on the
judgment, and notices of updates to the attorney's lien
on the judgment. At the scheduled hearing, Finken and the
estate resisted Domina's petition to intervene in the
auxiliary attachment proceeding. Finken and the estate argued
this was an inappropriate forum for relief and Domina was
trying to "jump ahead" of other creditors of
West's estate. The estate raised independent concerns
regarding the lien because the estate had pending in federal
court a malpractice claim against Domina relating to
Domina's representation of West in the corporate
dissolution proceeding. In that same suit, Domina asserted a
counterclaim against the estate for unpaid attorney's
fees. The district court dismissed the petition to intervene
for the following reason:
The court concludes that even if Domina's lien was
perfected before the prejudgment garnishment ordered in this
case, the amount of attorney fee[s] due to Domina in file
CVCV029621 is in dispute. The court concludes that Domina has
recourse to recover any fees it is owed either in the Arizona
probate case or in the pending federal counterclaim.
Moreover, this court has made no determination of the merits
of the prejudgment garnishment or the claims of the parties
in this file. It is possible that as litigation in this
present case continues that the garnishment will be quashed.
timely filed this appeal. The estate filed a responsive
brief, defending the district court's denial of
Domina's statutory petition for ...